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Purchased with the income 

of the 


Satbait Ctrllege llimxi 



(CUM of l»30) 

" For bookt relating to Politici and Flite Arts " 


** A work as they report surpassing every edifice in the world/' 

fFilUMm rf Malnusburj. 

** The fairest church in all the world'' 

Sir John MandeviUe. 


A marvellous and costful temple, clept St. Sophie." 

. C of graves Chrmdiy 

aThe church of 
sancta sophia 
a study of byz-" 
antine building 
by w. r. lethaby ^ 
harold swainson 


Macmillan & Co. London & New York 

r/i mi ^11, 1. «^i 

Richard Clay ahd Sohs, Limited, 





NOV 2 2 '04 

^^. M imi 


Sancta Sophia is the most interesting building on the worUTs 
surface. Like Kamak in Egypt^ or the Athenian Parthenon^ it 
is one of the four great pinnacles of architecture^ but unlike 
them this is no ruin^ nor does it belong to a past world of con-- 
structive ideas although it precedes by seven hundred years the 
fourth culmination of the building art in ChartreSy AmienSy or 
BourgeSy and thus must ever stand as the supreme mdnument of 
the Christian cycle. Far from being a ruiuy the church is one 
ofAe best preserved of so ancient monuments ^ and in regard to 
its treatment by the Turks we can only be grateful that S. 
Sophia has not been situated in the more learned cities of 
Europe, such as Rome, Aachen, or Oxford, during " the period 
of revived interest in ecclesiastical antiquities.*^ Our first 
object has been to attempt some disentanglement of the history of 
the Church and an analysis of its design and construction ; on 
the one hand, we have been led a step or two into the labyrinth 
of Constantinopolitan topography ^ on the other, we have thought 
that the great Church offers the best point of view for the ob^ 
servaHon of the Byzantine theory of building. 

It may be well for us to state how, in the main, we have 
shared our work. The one of us — by the accident of the alphabet ^ 
second named — has done Ae larger part of the reading and 
the whole of the translation required. The first has under- 
taken more of the constructive side of the book and the whole of 
the illustrations. We both visited Constantinople, and wish to 
thank Canon Curtis for help then and since. Mr. Ambrose 
Poynter has read the proofs. In our text we have thought it 
well to incorporate so far as possible the actual words of the 
writers to whom we have referred. The dates when the more 
ancient authors wrote are given under their names in the index ; 
so are the years of the accession of the Emperors mentioned in 
the text. Although we have made full use of Salzenberg^s 
great work in the preparation of some of our illustrations, none 



are mere transcripts from his bo$k. In some instances where 
scales are given to details^ the scales are but rough approxima- 

Much remains to be observed at S. Sophia ; the Baptistery^ 
the Cisterns beneath the churchy and the Circular Building to 
the east are practically unknown^ and any fact noted in regard 
to them will almost certainly be new. But it is still more 
important that building customs^ recipes^ and traditions should 
be recorded. Byzantine art still exists not only on Mount 
Athos but all aoer the once Christian East — at Damascus the 
builders are still Christians^ and the Greek masons of Turkey y 
M. Choisy saysy are still the faithful representatives of the 
builders of the Lower Empire^ and their present practice is a 
sure commentary on the ancient buildings. 

A conviction of the necessity for finding -the root of archi^ 
tecture once again in sound commons-sense building and pleasure- 
able craftsmanship remains as the final result of our study of 
S. Sophiaj that marvellous work^ where, 4s has so well been 
saidy there is no part where the principles of rational construc- 
tion are not applied with " hardiesse " and ^^ franchise.*^ In 
estimating so highly the Byzantine method of building in its 
greatest example, we see that its forms and results directly de-- 
pended on then present circumstances^ and then ordinary materials. 
It is evident that the style cannot be copied by our attempt-- 
ing to imitate Byzantine builders; only by being 
ourselves and free, can our work be 
reasonable, and if reasons- 
able, like theirs 

L'aRT c'sST d'etre ABSOLUMSNT SOf-MiM£. 


CHAPTER I. Byzantium. New Rome, The Acropolis, The Augusteum. 
First and Second Churches of S« Sophia . . • page i 

CHAPTER IL Justinian's Church. Account of Procopius. Pall of 
Dome and Restoration. Accounts of Agathias and Evagrius. page 21 

CHAPTER III. The Descriptive Poem of Paul the Silentiary, Parts 
I and 2 . . . « . . page 35 

CHAPTER IV. The Silentiary*s Account, Part 3. The Ambo. 
Coronations in the Ambo , . • . . page 53 

CHAPTER V. Main Divisions. Bcma. Altar. Ciborium. Crowns, 
&c. Altar Veils. Iconostasis. Prothesis and Diakonikon. Holy Well 
and Metatorion. Solea. The Nave and Pavement. Font. Crosses. 
Miraculous Marbles, &c. Water Vessels. Images and Tombs. Hang- 
ings. Carpets. Synods. Clergy and Ritual. Adoration of the Cross. 
Procession to the Church ..... page 66 

CHAPTER VI. g I. The True Cross and Relics of the Passion. 
Other Treasure. Accounts by Russian Pilgrims. § 2. The Lighting of 
the Church ....... page 97 

CHAPTER VII. § I. Later History. Occupation of the Church by 
the Crusaders. Fall of Constantinople. § 2. The Anonymous Account 
of the Church. § 3. Legends ..... page 122 

CHAPTER VIII. Fossati's Reparations. Salzenberg's Description of 
Design, Materials, Construction, and Decoration . page 14.8 

CHAPTER IX. Precincts of the Church, &c. Palaces. Hippodrome. 
Augusteum. Milion. Horologium. S. Peter's Chapel, &c. Bound- 
aries of Church. Atrium. Phiale. Pavement. West Front. Belfry. 
Cisterns. Exterior generally ..... page 173 

CHAPTER X. § I. Byzantine Origins. § 2. The Builders of the 
Church. § 3* Original Form of the Church: Dome and N. and 
S. Arches, Atrium, N.W. and S.W. Angles, Baptistery and Loggia. 
§ 4. Structural System. Arch Forms. Vaulting. Dome Construction. 
Chainage and Walling. Mortar and Cement . . page 198 

CHAPTER XI. § I. Building Procedure. § 2. Marble Quarries and 
Identification of the Marbles. § 3. Application of Marble to the Walls. 


§ 4* Marble Masonry. Seven Orders of Byzantine Capitals. Distri- 
bution and Dates of Capitals. Shafts and Bases. Responds. Cornices 
and Skirtings. Windows, &c. Carving . . fage 234 

CHAPTER XII. § I. Bronze Doors, &c. § 2. Mosaics. Salzenberg's 
Description. First Scheme. Later Scheme. Fossati's Description. 
Tesserae and Fixing. § 3. Glass. Plaster. Painting. § 4. Monograms 
and Inscriptions .•...• f^ge 264 



Byzantium. — ^Where the narrow swift-flowing Bosporus, 
which divides Asia from the most eastern part of southern 
Europe, flows into the Sea of Marmara, a crescent-shaped 
aim of the sea runs westward into the land, leaving a narrow 
•promontory, which, like the prow of a boat m profile, 
puts out to the east. The pomt of this promontory is a 
mass of rock rising steeply from the sea: divided by a slight 
transverse depression from the rest of the land, it forms the 
first hill of the seven which were afterwards inclosed by 
the walls of Constantinople. 

On this crest (by the present Seraglio Point), commanding 
the passage to the Euxine, was built, in the seventh 
century B.C., by colonists from Megara — ^with whom 
Dionysius couples the Corinthians — the Acropolis, the 
sacred dty and citadel, and within certain limits the lines 
of its containing walls may still be traced. The lower 
city gathered about the slopes outside the Acropolis, and 
had other walls defining its landward limits. Dionysius, 
the ancient Byzantine writer, who describes the city before 
the ^ese of Severus, 196 a.d., says that this citadel of 
Byzantmm was on the promontory of the Bosporus, above 
the bay called Keras (the Golden Horn). "At a little 
distance over the height is the altar of Athena Ecbasia 
— of the landing — ^where the colonists fought as for their 



own land. There is too a temple of Poseidon, an andent 
one and hence quite pl^, which stands over the sea. . . . 
Below the temple of Poseidon, but within the wall, on 
the level ground are stadia and gymnasia, and courses for 
the young. ' ^ This Acropolis is roughly outlined in Fig. i, 
the evidence being the contours of the hill, remains and 
records of certain walls to be mentioned later, and the 
boundaries between the first four regions in Constantine's 
city as given in the Notitia^ a description of the city 
written in the beginning of the fifth century. The Acro- 
polis so defined has a striking resemblance to other Greek 
hill cities — ^Tiryns, Mycenae, Acrocorinth, and the Acropolis 
of Athens. In Fig. l the cross shows the site of the 
present Church of S. Sophia ; the arrow shows the 
Hippodrome, which, still existing, is the great monument of 
pre-Constantinian times, and forms the key for all study 
of the subsequent city ; O shows the position of the column 
said to have been erected by Claudius Gothicus about 
270 A.D., which stands at the north end of the Acropolis 
overlooking Seraglio or Demetrius Point. 

Of the ancient Greek town few positive remains have 
come down to us, with the exception of the coins. A publi- 
cation by the Greek Philological Sodety of Constantinople 
mentions as among several pre-Constantinian inscriptions a 
marble slab found in *' the tower next to the Zouk ^sesme 
gate on the left as one ascends to S. Sophia,** which refers 
to the stadium erected by Pausanias the General in 477 
B.C., " \nthin the walls of Byzantium and below the temple 
of Poseidon.** * The coins also go back to the fifth century 
B.C. The early ones show a covr standing on a dolphin, 
with the letters BY. In the third century we have Posddon 
seated on a promontory, and later again a dolphin twined round 
a trident — ^all the types having evident reference to the sea- 
washed city. Another relic of ancient Byzantium is still 
to be seen below the curve of the Hippodrome, where a 

^ 'Av(£rXovs Booiropou, ed. C. Wescher, 1874, ?• S* 
* Notitia Dignitatum^ eds. Pancirolus, Venice, 1602, jind Seeck Berlin, 
1876, The date given by Seeck for the Notitia is 41 1-413 a.d. 
' 'EXXi^iic^ <^iXoXoyt#cds SvAAoyos ; vapdprrifiaj 1 885. 


white marble capital of good Greek Doric work lies 
neglected on the seaward bank of the new railway. 

In addition to the ancient buildings already mentioned, 
we learn from Dionysius that the city possessed a temple 
of Ge Onesidora — ^the fruitful earth — which consisted of 
^^an unroofed space surrounded by a wail of polished 
stone," Near by were "temples of Demeter and the 
Muden (Persephone), with many pictures in them, relics 
of their former wealth." This author was also shown the 
sites of temples to Hera and Pluto, " the former having 
been destroyed by Darius, and the latter by Philip of 
Macedon." He also speaks of a large round tower joined 
to the wall of the city. 

Some records or legends of the ancient dty are also con- 
tained in the Paschal Chronicle.'^ -After the siege Severus 
"built the public bath called Zeuxippus. Now in the 
middle of the four-porticoed ^ space stood a bronze stele of 
the sun, below which he wrote the name of the sun. The 
people of Thrace indeed call the place Helion, but the By- 
zantines-themselves call this same public bath * of Zeuxippus ' 
after its original name, although the emperor ordered it 
should be called Severion. Opposite to it in the acropolis 
of Byzantiuni he built the temple of Apollo, which also 
faced the two other temples formerly built by Byzas— one 
to Artemis with the olive, and the other to Phedalian Aphro- 
dite. And the figtu^ of the sun was taken from the four- 
porticoes and placed in this temple (of Apollo). Opposite 
the temple of Artemis he built large kennels, and a theatre 
opposite the temple of Aphrodite. He bought houses and 
gardens from two brothers, and after pulling down the 
former and uprooting the latter he built the Hippodrome. 
Severus restored the Strategion as well. It was first named 
by Alexander of Macedon, who, in his campaign against 
Darius, reviewed his troops there before attacking the 

^ Ed. Bonn, i., p. 494. 

* Lydus speaks of a fire spreading from the " Forum of Zeuxippus " to 
chat of Constantine (p. 265). The baths of Zeuxippus are placed at the 
north end of the Hippodrome by Labarte and Mordtmann. 

B 2 


New Rome. — It was about 328 a.d. or the following 
year that Constantine dedded to enlarge this dty, which 
had long been under the domination of Rome, and to 
make it his capital. The work of building was pushed 
forward with great energy, and it was consecrated in May 
330. By an edict engraved on a stone erected in the 
Strategium, it was called the New Rome of Constantine. 
In the documents of the patriarchs of the Greek Church 
the dty is still called New Rome. 

The quarries of easily wrought mairble of large crystal- 
line structure and soft white colour found in such abundance 
in the island of Proconnesus, only a few miles away over 
the sea to which it has given its name of Marmara^ then as 
now furnished a perfect building material ; while the still 
worked quarries of Egypt and Thessaly provided imperial 
purple and green. But a richer quarry was doubtless found 
in the porphyry and dppolino shafb of the old temples 
of many a declining dty. 

Constantine*s city does not appear to have been so 
completely Christian as the ecdesiastical writers would have 
us suppose. Zosimus tells us that Constantine erected a 
shrine to the Dioscuri in the Hippodrome^ and he mentions 
the temples of Rhea and the Tyche of the city in a large 
four-porticoed forum. A whole population of bronze and 
marble statues was brought together from Greece, Asia 
Minor, and Sicily. The baths of 2^euxippus alone are said 
to have had more than sixty bronze statues,^ a still greater 
number were assembled in the Aususteum and other 
squares, and in the Hippodrome, wnere, according to 
Zosimus,^ Constantine placed the Pythian tripod, which had 
been the central object in the temple of Apollo at Delphi. 
On the triple coils of the bronze serpents in the At-Meidan 
can still be read the names of the Greek states, which, after 
the battle of Plataea, dedicated a tithe of the spoil to 
the Delphic orade, as described by Herodotus.* 

An extremely valuable description of andent Byzantium and 

^ Christodorus, a fifth-century poet. — F. Baumgarten, 1891. 

• Hist. ed. Bonn, p. 97. 

' RawHnson's Herodotus^ 1875, vol. iv., p. 467. 


the reconstruction by Constantine is given by Zosimus, writr 
ing not much more than a century after the transformation. 
"Now the dty lay upon the crest of a hill which forms 
a part of the isthmus that is made by what is called the 
*Hom' (idpaif) and the Propontis. And formerly it had 
its gate (miXfi) at the end of the colonnades which 
Severus built." . . . "And the wall on its western part 
descending along with the crest reached to the temple of 
Aphrodite, and the sea of Chrysopolis [Scutari] which is 
opposite; and in the same way from the crest the wall 
descended northward to the harbour which is called Neorion, 
and from thence up to the sea which lies directly in front 
of the straits through which one enters the Euxine.** 
• . • "This then was the ancient size of the dty. And 
G>nstantine erected a circular forum where formerly was the 
gatey and surrounded it with p<xticoes of two storeys. He 
set up two very big arches of Proconnesian marble opposite 
each other ; through them one entered the porticoes of 
Severus or issued from the andent city. And wishing to 
make the city much laiger he further continued the old wall 
fifteen stadia, and inclosed the city with a wall which cut off 
the isthmus from sea to sea." 

It is dear from this that the andent land gate of 
Byzantium stood on the crest of the ridge close to the site 
now occupied by the Porphyry Colunm (which was set up by 
G>nstantine in the New Forum), and formed the end of a 
street, of columns built by Severus (the Mese). From this 
gate the wall ran ^uthwards to a temple of Aphrodite, and 
along the shore of the Propontis opposite Scutari. North- 
wards it descended to the Golden Horn at the Neorion 
port, and turned along the shore to Seraglio Point. Now 
the Neorion port was just outside the entrance to the 
modem Galata bridge,^ and the accoimt agrees perfectly with 
the NoHHa in which we find the following : " The sixth 
ward at entering on it is level ground for a short distance, all 
the rest is upon the descent ; for it extends from the Forum 
of Constantine to the stairs where you ferry over to Sycae 
[Galata]. It contains the porphyry pillar of Constantine ; 

^ Mordtmann, Esquisse tofo, de dmstantinopU^ p. 48 and map. 

6 . S. SOPHIA 

the Senate House in the same place, the Neorion port ; the 
stairs of Sycae, &c.*' 

It is evident that the dty which Constantine found 
had been virtually rebuilt by Severus in the style of the 
East From the days when Alexandria and Antioch were 
planned a city had become a whole to be designed ac- 
cording to rule. Essential features of such dties— of which 
Palmyra is the best representative — were long avenues of 
columns forming the main streets, and a triumphal arch 
with a central "golden milestone." The main street of 
colunms at G>nstantinop]e, which we later hear of by the 
name of the Mese as forming the way from the Milion to 
the Forum of G>nstantine, cannot be any other than the- 
" Porticoes of Severus" just mentioned. In the fifth 
centiury we find the Mese referred to in the building laws of 
Zeno. " We ordsun that none shall be allowed to obstruct 
with buildings the nimierous rows of columns which are 
erected in the public porticoes, such as those leading from 
what is called the Milion to the Gipitol," any shops or 
booths between the columns " must be ornamented on the 
outside at least with marble, that they may beautify the dty 
and give pleasure to the passers by/' ^ Mordtmann shows 
that this great coliunned way occupied very nearly the line 
of the present Divan Yiulu ; indeed, it is hardly possible to 
divert the great arteries at any stage of a dty s evolution, 
and the Mese itself probably followed the course of a foot- 
track to the gate of the Acropolis. 

By building walls across the land between the Golden 
Horn and the sea at distances farther and farther from 
Seraglio Point, the city has been successively enlarged ; the 
great land walls, within which the shrunken dty now lies, 
are mainly the work of Theodosius II. These, the walls of 
the Constantinople known to the Crusaders, are still com- 

^ The Museum of Classic. Jntiq. 1857, p. 305. The Capitol was 
beyond Forum Cons. Lydus speaks of ** the porticoes that pass through 
the city and lead to the Forum of Constantine, and the broad space is 
screened symmetrically with great and beautiful columns. [Some of] 
these porticoes are said to have been built by men from Naples and 
Puteoli who came to Byzantium to please Constantine." (Ed. Bonn, p. 


paradvely perfect ; a triple line on the land side and a single 
line around the sea margin, some fourteen miles of walls, 
eight or ten to fifteen feet thick, strengthened by great 
towers, completely girdles the city round about. The land- 
wall of G>nstantine's city, situated between the Acropolis 
and the present walls, has disappeared, but its course has 
been traced (see Fig. i). 

Acropojis. — ^The topography of andent Constantinople 
has engaged the attention of generations of writers, and an 
approximation to true results has undoubtedly been reached. 
First we must mention Pierrd Gilles, usually called Gyllius, 
who^ travelling to collect MSS. for Francis L, resided in the 
dty for many years, and died in 1555. Then Du Cange, in- 
his great work Constantinopolis Chris Hanuy 1680, by a careful 
comparison of the authorities, certainly made discoveries in 
a country he had never visited. The folios of Banduri ^ 
followed in 171 1.; and in 1861 Labarte published a more 
detuled study of the Imperial quarter, chiefly based on the 
ample notices in the Book of Ceremonies of Constantine 
Porphyrogenitus. This work, Le Palais Imperial de 
Constantinople et ses Abordsy shows remarkable insight and 
critical acumen. Buzantios in Constantinopolis^ 1861, and 
Paspates in his Byzantinae Melatae^ 1877, made several 
further identifications. The latter followed with ^he 
Great Palace of ConstantinopUy recently translated by Mr. 
Metcalfe, which goes over the same ground as Labarte ; but 
the excavations for the railway, which now dfcles Seraglio 
Point, had in the meantime exposed some remains, and made 
the examination of certain walls possible. 

Although Paspates made several valuable suggestions, 
many of his condusions are cert^nly not sust^ned by his 
reifisoning; indeed, Labarte in many points of divergence 
was probably much nearer the facts. Paspates* views 
were accepted by Mr. Bury,^ to be followed in turn by 

^ Imperium OrientaUy Paris, 171 1. 

• Bury, J Hist§ry $f the later Roman Empire (395 a.d. to 800 a,d.)» 
vol. i^ p. 57. Mr. Bury, in an excellent review of Paspates' book in 

Fio. t.— Plan of CoiuUntiiMple dicnrliig lb developneat 

Mr. Oman in The ByzanHne Empire of the *' Story of the 
Nadons" Series. A work in Rus^an has recently been 
devoted to the study of the Palace quarter.^ Unger's 
coUectitm of topographical references in Q.uelkn der Byzan~ 
tinischen Kunstgeschicht is also of the greatest serrtce. 

In 1892 appeared Dr. Mordtmann's £j^»fVj/, together with 
a large plan of the city, on which the probable identifications 
of the ways and buildings were laid down ; this was prepared 

Tkt StBiiiib Reviev, Ap. 1894, gives up the poiition auigned to the 
Augusteam by tlut luthor. 

* D. Byfljsjev, Byzamtau, St. Petenbai^ 1891, levicwec! in Bjzm- 
ttMi'ifit Ztituhrijiy 1892, p. 344. 


** *"* "^ *» - - *'X,'&*- -^«" g"^^*. ^^Lr*»''5^ »-i,^>^«"^ "^r,"!!. 

Fig. 3.— Plin of the Acropalis, &&, of Constantine's ct^. 

at the instance of the G>mte Riant, who, in his Exuviae 
Constantinopolitanae^ contributed the result of much research 
to our knowledge of Byzantine antiquities. 

Dr. Mordtmann, by a study of the whole of the dty area 
and its entire circumvallation as we have it ta*day, in 
comparison with the written descriptions, has laid a firmer 
grasp on the problem. Labarte, he points out, was chiefly 
misled by a confusion of the buildings in the Forum of 
G>nstantine and those in the Forum Augusteum — z mistake 
elaborated in some respects by Paspates. Labarte thus 
placed the prophyry column of Constantine, which still 
marks the site of the former, together with other buildings 


that were quartered about it, all within the Augusteum, 
which last he rightly identified with the present open space 
to the south-west of S. Sophia. Texier, who in 1834 made 
a careful study of the ancient dty, rightly distinguished the 
two fora.^ 

Fig. 2 will assist in making clear our views as to the 
transformation of the Acropolis under Constantine. The 
Byzantine brick walls which now inclose the old Serd 
liibarte regarded as of late work, and we think the style 
of the building would very well bear out Paspates' opinion 
that they were erected by Michael Palaeolc^s. The 
excavation for the rsulway exposed some remains of a wall 
near O in our Fig. i which Paspates describes as *' built of 
large stones as much as 10 feet long by 2^ broad, and 
i^ thick." ^ The rest of the seaward wall still forming the 
substructure of the retaining wall of the ' sea-front of the 
old Serai, and running in a direction parallel to the Hippo- 
drome, is also of stone. This wall is probably ancient or 
follows the course of the ancient Acropolis indosure which 
is described by Dion Cassius as *^ built on rising ground and 
projecting into the sea. . . • The walls are very strong, 
formed of large squared stones bound together with copper, 
and the inside is so strengthened with earth and buildings 
that the whole seems one thick wall." • 

The late Anonymous author edited by Banduri says that 
the wall of andent Byzantium commenced at the Golden 
Horn near the gate of S. Eugenius to pass along by the 
Golden Milestone.* We place no rdiancc on the Anonymous 
for early history, but there is much to confirm Mordtmann's 
view that an andent wall occupied this position and that the 
Milion-r-which the Anonymous says was the land gate — 
was situated upon its course and formed indeed the entrance 
from the Street of Columns. This wall, which Mordtmann 
says passed on the land side of the old Serai in front of the 

^ MSS., plansy and descriptions, in the Library of R. Inst. Brit. 

* Paspates, TAe Great Palace^ p. 20. Mr. Metcalfe's translation Is 
intended throughout. 

^ Lib. Ixxiv., ch. lo. ^ Mordtmann, Esqtdsse^ pp. 4 and 5. 


modem museum (Tchenii Kiosk) where there is a high 
retsuning wail, and continued to the west of S. Sophia not 
far from the narthex, we consider must be that which 
formed the landward inclosure of the Acropolis. The 
fourth r^on of the city, Mordtmann says, was separated 
from the second by the rock of the Acropolis and this wail. 
We arc confirmed in our acceptance of the other wall described 
by Paspates as the seaward wall of the Acropolis, not only 
because it is built against the steep escarpment of the rock, 
but by finding; that in the division of the city into the wards 
or regions of the NoHHa the first ward exactly comprised 
the space between the wall and the sea ; the second region 
contained the old Acropolis itself, with a triangle of lower 
ground at the north ag^nst the Golden Horn, where was 
probably the sea gate ; while the third was divided from 
the fourth by the great way which left the Milion gate on 
the old lanaward wall of the Acropolis. Such pre-existing 
features naturally formed the boundaries of the wards. 

We now give from the NoHHa Dignitatum the descrip- 
tions of the first four regions of the fourteen into which 
G>nstantine's city was divided, which will show how Cdn- 
stantine occupied the old areas with the royal and public 
quarters of his new city. Twelve regions were included 
within the walls, and two others were formed by the suburbs 
of Blachemae and Galata. 


Contains the house of PUcidia 
Augusta ; the house of most noble 
Marina ; the Baths of Arcadius ; 
27 streets or alleys ; 1 18 houses ; 2 
porticoes; 1 5 private baths; 4 public 
cornmills ; 1 5 private cornmills ; 4 
terraces of steps. It is under one 
curator, who looks after the whole 
region ; it has i vernaculus, a slave 
(or messenger) for all regions ; 25 
collegiati, who are selected from 
different Guilds (Corporati), and 
help at fires ; and 5 street wardens, 
who watch the city at night. 

Region II. 

Gradually rises with a gentle 
ascent beginning from the smaller 
theatre, and then descends abruptly 
to the sea. It contains the Great 
Church ; the Ancient Church ; the 
Senate ; the Tribunal built with 
porphyry steps ; the Baths of Zeuzip- 
pus ; the theatre ; the amphitheatre ; 
34 streets or alleys, 98 houses ; 4 
large porticoes ; 13 private baths ; 
4 private cornmills ; 4 terraces of 
steps. It had also i curator, i ver- 
naculus ; 35 collegiati, 5 street 



Region III. 

Is t plane surface in its higher 
part, where is the Circus, but from 
the end of this it descends steeply 
to the sea. It contains the Circus 
Maximus ; the house of Pulcheria 
Augusta ; the new harbour ; a semi- 
circular portico, called by the 
Greeks Sigma ; the Tribunal of the 
iPorum of Constantine ; 7 streets ; 
94 houses ; 5 large porticoes ; 1 1 
private baths ; 9 private commills. 
It had I curator ; i vemaculus ; it 
had also 21 collegiati ; and 5 street 

Rboion IV. 

From the Golden Milliarium is 
prolonged, with hills rising to right 
and left in a valley leading to an 
open space. It contains the golden 
Milliarium; the Augusteum ; the 
Basilica ; the Nymphaeum ; the 
Portico of Fanio; amarble ship— the 
monument of a naval victory — the 
church or martyrium of S. Mennas; 
the Stadium ; the Scala Timasii ; 
52 streets; 575 houses; 4 large 
porticoes; 7 private baths; 5 private 
commills ; 7 terraces of steps. It 
had I curator ; I vernaculus ; 45 
collegiati ; 5 street wardens. 

Augusteum. — ^Thus Region I., occupying the land between 
the Acropolis wall and the sea, was partly reserved for 
palaces ; R^ion II. coindded with the Acropolis, and had its 
south end devoted to the Forum Augusteum and the 
Christian Basilicas of S. Sophia (" the Great Church ") and 
St. Irene (" the Old Church.''). It will be observed that in 
the Notitia the Augusteum is given to R^on IV., to which it 
does indeed adjoin ; Mordtmann ^ considers that the Aug- 
usteum, like the buildings round it, must have belonged to 
Region II., but suggests that there may have been a continu- 
ation of the open space farther to the west in Region IV., 
and some such space as this certainly seems required by 
several of the references. 

Gyllius first made the identification of the Augusteum 
with the present open space on the south of S. Sophia ; in 
this he was followed by Labarte, and Mordtmann concurs. 
Paspates in making the Aumisteum occupy the ground along 
the east side of the Hippodrome stands alone agsunst, as it 
seems to us, all evidence. For example, he is compelled to 
shift the inscribed pedestal of the statue of the Empress 
Eudoxia, which we cannot but believe was found in its 
original position (see Mordtmann, p. 64, and Paspates, p. 1 05, 
and below, p. 13). The Mese moreover he makes the centre 
of his Augusteum, Mr. Bury thought it proved that the 

* Esquisse Top. p. 3, 


Augusteum ^^was also called the Forum of Constantine/* 
because a passage in Cedrenus speaks of the Senate House 
(to frepoTov) as in the Forum of Constantine. It is 
perfectly clear however from the NoHHa that there were two 
Senate Houses — one in the Forum mentioned in the extract 
we have given from the description of the sixth ward, and the 
other included in the second region as just quoted.^ 

In the Augusteum was erected a Senate, its front facing 
the west. "The Senate," says Mordtmann, "was placed 
where to-day stands the Tribimal of G>mmerce/* That is, 
on the east side of die present place of S. Sophia against 
what must have been the eastern side of the Augusteum and 
the ancient Acropolis, on the seaward wall of which it was 
probably founded. In diggii^ the foundations of the 
Tribunal of G)nmierce in 1847 the andent pavement was 
found, at a depth of twelve feet, and the base of the cele- 
brated statue of Eudoxia, with an inscription, marked it as 
the site of the Courts of Justice (Mordtmann, p. 64). The 
statue, Socnetes^ says, was; *^of silver, and it stood upon 
a lofty pedestal {befnd)^ not far from the church called 
S. Sophia, with a road between.** 

The At^usteum, following the Hippodrome, does not lie 
four-square with the cardinal points, but almost diagonally to 
them : for convenience, however, we shall speak of the direc- 
tions as North, South, East, and West, calling the side towards 
the Mese the west. On the north side, and following the 
same system of alignment, is the present S. Sophia. The palace 
of the Patriarch probably adjoined the church, on the north 
side of the square. 

The royal palaces mentioned in the NoHtia were on the 
south of the Augusteum. According to the Paschal Chronicle ^ 
written about 630 a.d., Constantine the Great made a palace 
beside the Hippodrome, *^ and the ascent from the palace to 
the stand of the Hippodrome was by means of the stair called 
the spiral " (Paspatcs, Great Palace^ p. 47). This palace does 

^ Zosimus (p. 139) and Lydus (p. 265) say that the Emperor Julian 
built a Senate. So also according to Sozomen (ii. 3) and the Paschal 
Chron. did Constantine. 

^ Hist, eccks. lib. vi., ch. zviii. 


not seem to have become of great importance until Justinian's 
time. The NoHHa merely mentions the House of Pladdia 
Augusta, and the House of the most noble M^irina, the 
daughters of Arcadius, in the first ward ; and the House of 
Pulcheria Augusta in the third ; and speaks of several other 
royal palaces in the 9th, loth, and nth wards. The palace 
of the emperor at this time was in the 14th ward, which was 
outside the walls and isolated, making ** the figure of a small 
city by itself ; " this is the celebrated palace of Blachemae. 

The Church. — It was in May 328 that Helena is said to 
have discovered the true cross and other relics at Jerusalem. 
And this event, which synchronizes exactly with G>nstantine's 
choice of Byzantium as his capital, was probably not without 
direct relation to the foundation of the church decticated to 
Christ. Socrates writes, ** A portion of the cross she (Helena) 
inclosed in a silver diest and left in Jerusalem as a memorial, 
but the other part she sent to the king." ^ 

Theophanes, Cedrenus, Glycas, Paul the Deacon, 
Nicephorus Callistus, and other late historians agree in 
makmg Constantine the founder of the first Church dedi- 
cated to the Second Person of the Trinity as the Kvine 
Wisdom ; and Cedrenus even gives a name — ^Euphrates — to 
the architect.^ Codinus, who wrote in the fifteenth century, 
alone relates that Constantine purified a previously existing 
temple and dedicated it to Christian uses. 

There is much evidence to show that the church could 
not have been completed by Constantine even if he had 
founded it, or contemplated its foimdation. In the life of 
the emperor, the Church of the Holy Apostles, which was 
built near the Forum of Constantine, and in which the 
emperor was buried, is described at length,' but it does not 
mention S. Sophia, although the author takes psuns to enu- 
merate the Christian objects in the dty — saying that there 
were " many Oratories and Martyria, and by the fountains in 

the middle of the agorae were figures in gilt bronze of the 

. • 

^ Ecc. Hist, lib. i., xvii. 

* Du Cange, Descriptio S, Sophiaey ed. Bonn, p. 62. 

' Eusebius, De FiU Cons. lib. iv., cap. Iviii-liz. 


Good Shepherd and of Daniel with the lions ; in the palace 
was a cross wrought in gold with many coloured predous 
stones." ^ 

In the fifth century NoHHa^ as we have seen, S. Irene is 
called the Old Church and S. Sophia the Great Church. 

The historian Socrates, probably the best authority, says 
that Constantine ^* built two churches, one he called Irene and 
the other the Apostles,** ^ and he attributes S. Sophia entirely 
to Constantius. ** The King built the great chuixh which is 
called Sophia and joined it to that called Irene, which the 
father of the king had previously increased and beautified, and 
now both churches were included within one wall and had 
one title." . 

Upon its completion, it was dedicated, with magnificent cere- 
mony, by the patriarch Eudoxius on Sunday, February 1 5th, 
360 A.D., "in the thirty-fourth year after its foundation.*** 
This would fix its foundation in the year 326 a.d., two years 
after Constantine, having defeated licinius, had b^;un to 
reign alone. Cedrenus writes, " Eudoxius consecrated a second 
time the Church of the Divine Wisdom, because after its first 
completion, and the dedication by Eusebius, it had fallen and 
been again restored by Constantius,**^ and he places this event 
in the twenty-second year of Constantius* reign. 

Cedrenus is a late and credulous writer, and in attributing 
a first dedication to Eusebius — ^who would certainly have told 
us himself — ^he shows how untrustworthy is the whole story. 
Alt(^ether we cannot do better than accept the account of 
Idatius and that given in the Paschal Chronicle^ with perhaps 
a little suspidon on the part which refers to Constantine, " In 
this year (360) in the month Peritius was dedicated the great 
church of Constantinople, in the thirty-fourth year from 
the time when Constantine had laid the foundations. For 
the opening ceremony {encaenia) Constantius brought many 
ofiFerings of gold, and great treasure of silver ; many tissues 
adorned with gold thread and stones for the sanctuary ; for 

^ De Vita Cons. lib. iii., cap. xlviii.-xlix. 

* EccL Hist, ii., xvi. 

' Du CangCy p. 63. He quotes the fifth-centuiy author Idatius. 

^ Ed. Bonn, i., p. 523, and i., p. 530. 

1 6 S. SOPHIA 

the doors of the church (tifierent curtains {amphUhurtai) of 
gold ; and for the outside gateways (pu/eones) many others 
with gold threads.** According to the late Anonymous author 
(see page 129), "in the reign of Theodosius the Great (t39S) 
and in the patriarchate of Nectarius (381-398), seventy-four 
years after the church was built, the roof of the church 
was destroyed by fire ;" he probably really meant the fire of 
404 in Arcadius' reign. At that time S. John Chrysostom, 
incurring the dislike of the Empress Eudoxia, was banished. 
He was brought back at the end of two days, once more 
preached in S. Sophia, and was exiled agun, with disastrous 
results, for his partisans set fire to the church and destroyed 
it. " This happened on the 20th of June, in the consulship 
of Honorius and Aristaenetus *' (404).^ 

The fire was by some thought to be- of supernatural origin. 
Palladius, the bishop's biographer, writes, ^^Thcn a flame 
seemed to burst from the centre of the throne in which he 
used to sit, and climbed up bv the chains [of lamps] to the 
roof • • . and crept like a wnggling snake upon the back of 
the houses of the church.'* There was also burnt the Senate, 
" lying many paces to the soutb opposite the church ; and 
the fin: spared only the little house, in which the sacred 
vessels were kept." 

The church was agsdn injured by fire, i^estored by Theodosius 
II., and rededicated in 415.^ Fresh relics were required for 
this rededication.^ One fact of importance in regard to this 
church is related by Sozomenus of the Empress Pulcheria. 
^^ She dedicated an altar in the church of Constantinople, a 
most wonderful work of gold and precious stones, on behalf 
of her virginity and her brothers empire. And she wrote 
this on the face of the table so that it might be clear to 

From this time until the outbreak known as the Nika 
sedition, in January 532, the church is not said to have 
been further altered. According to Cedrenus, the records and 
charters perished with the church. 

^ Socrates, Hist, Eccl, tL, 18. 

* Du Cange, § 3. 

• Pasck. CArvn. cd. Bonn, i^ p. 572. * EccL Hut. ix., i. 


There cannot be a doubt that the present S. Sophia occupies 
the site of the first church. A church once made holy by 
dedication and the reception of relics could not be transported. 
Indeed it is possible that it may occupy the site of one of the 
Greek temples, for there was a constant tendency to this 
supersession on one sacred site ; and the present church 
stands on the very crest of the old Acropolis. If there were 
any sufficient reason to identify the site with that of the 
altar of Pallas, the dedication of the church itself would 
evidently be one of the many instances of a transference of 
title from the old worship* The Parthenon — ^where Hellenic 
rites survived to the sixth centiu-y — became a church in this 
way dedicated to the Holy Wisdom.^ The axis of the 
church seems to point somewhere between jo"" and 35'' south 
of east, where there is a considerable sea prospect and a low 
horizon. This direction, either by acddent or intention, must 
agree very closely with sunrise at the winter solstice : ^ the 
latitude of the church being 41*" o' 26". The plan will show 
that the ancient Hippodrome, and probably the other build- 
ings, were set out in relation to this axis. 

In comparing the early Basilicas of Constantinian date, 
both those that exist and those of which we have descriptions, 
we find that they generally, if not invariably, had their doors 
of entrance at the east end, and their apses towards the west, 
exactly the opposite of the more recent custom. Rohault 
De Fleury says this was usual in the East till the fifth century, 
and the custom continued much later in Rome. Kraus, in 
the best study of the subject,' writes : ^^ S. Agatha at Ravenna 
must be mentioned as the first which had its altar at the east 
end : it was bvult in 417, and in this century the practice 
became general.'* 

Socrates (t 440) says of the church of Antioch that " the 
altar stood not at the east but at the west^^ but he speaks of 

* Sec Tozcr's note, Finlay, vol. i^ 45. 

' Justinian's church was opened at Christmas. 

• Art. •* Orientirung " in Real Encyklopadie der ChristUcben Alterthumer^ 
1886, based on Mothes' schedule in Du Basilikenformen^ 1865. We hope 
to show on another occasion that the present church at Bethlehem which 
points to the east was entirely rebuilt by Justinian. There is no proof 
that S. George Salonica is older than fifth cent. 

1 8 S. SOPHIA 

this as contrary to the usual custom at the time he wrote. 
This church was founded by Constantine and finbhed by his 
son. The Church of the Apostles at Constantinople, built 
by Constantine to contain the relics of S. Luke, seems also to 
have been entered at the east, for S. John Chrysostom ^ speaks 
of the emperor being buried " in the part in front of the 
doors/* and an anonymous author, who wrote about the 
imperial sepulchres, says that Constantine's sarcophagus was 
" in front towards the east."^ 

We shall thus be following the reasonable suggestion of 
comparative archaeology in saying that the first church of S. 
Sophia almost certunly had its entrance doors at the east — 
the sanctuary end of the present church. 

The church was probably only of medium size ; the 
length of the present church is about 250 feet, its vastness 
being in its width. The Pascfial Chronicle speaks of " its 
stupendous and marvellous columns all being ix rerpahnrov " ; 
but owing to a variant reacUng it is difficult to determine 
whether it means that the pillars were square, or were set in 
a square, or formed four bays. Glycas and Codinus, who 
wrote a thousand years after the foundation of the church, 
say that it was basilican (Jromika)^ and had a wooden roof 
{xulotroull0s)y and the latter says that the church of 
Theodosius had cylindrical vaults. As it is evident from 
the rapid destruction by fire that the roofs of the early 
churches were of wood, they were probably Basilicas. Oiily 
a few minor particulars, such as the existence of an atrium, 
and the right of sanctuary in the bema {thusiasterion\ can 
be gathered from the homilies of S. Chrysostom. Socrates 
tells us that this patriarch was wont to preach ^^in the ambo 
for the sake of being better heard.'* ' From Palladius we 
learn that there was a baptistery (in which the Sixth Coundl 
of Constantinople, a.d. 394,^ appears to have met) attached 
to the church, and it was here Chrvsostom took leave of the 
deaconesses at his banishment, as described in a passage diffi* 

^ Homilies zxvi. and Ix. 

> De Sepulcris Imferatorum^ Migne S. G^ vol. 1579 p. 726. 

• Migne^ p. 674. 

^ Bingham, Antiquities of the Christian Cbuuh^ toI. iit^ p. i20< 


cult to interpret " He went out of the baptistery on the 
east side, for there was no western (exit). The mule which 
he usually rode was made to stand westwards before the gate 
to the church, where is the porch, so that he might escape 
the people who were expecting him." The passage from 
the same author about the waters of the font being stained 
with blood does not, as is sometimes supposed, necessarily 
refer to S. Sophia. 

In appljang the plan of a church of mean size so that the 
doors should face eastwards, we are at once struck by finding 
that the western hemicyde of the present church would lie 
about the apse ; and we cannot but suggest that in this we 
may have the very raison d'etre of the remarkable plan of 
the prsent church, which it would seem might be properly 
classed with those churches which have apses at both ends, 
like the early basilica at Orleansville near Tunis ; ^ the MS. 
plan of S. Gall is the best known example ; our own early 
church at Canterbury was another instance, the result of 
adding to a church with a western apse ; France furnishes 
Besan^on and Nevers, and Germany numerous examples. 

It is indeed possible that some parts of the old structure 
may have given practical and positive reasons contributing 
to this result, and a thorough examination of the cisterns 
beneath the present floor of S. Sophia may yet yield full 
evidence of the first basilica ; or if these vaults were entirely 
built for Justinian's church, their material would almost 
certainly be derived from the earlier building. 

We suggest that the circular brick buildQng lying at the 
north-east angle of the present church belongra to the pre- 
Jusrinian church, and formed its baptistery. It is about 
forty-five feet exterior diameter, and the plan as given by Sal- 
zenberg shows great resemblance to other circular structures 
of the Constantinian age ; such as S. Constantia in Rome, the 
^^ tomb of Helen ** at Rome, and the round tomb buildings 
which adjoined S. Peter s as shown in the plan of Ciampini.^ 

^ Rivue Jrchhhgiqui^ vol. iv., p. 659, and Kugler, Geschicbu der 
BauhwMst^ vol. i., p. 372. 

' For similar early circular baptisteries see Martigny^ Diet. Christ, 

C 2 


The entrance doorway of this building was to the east. 

As to its use. In the contemporary account of Justinian's 
church, the poet Paulus, describing the north aisle, says, ^^ On 
the north is a door admitting the people to the founts that 
purify the stains of mortal life and heal every scar.*' He 
does not mention the present south-west building, nor has he 
any other reference to a font. We suppose therefore that 
this isolated building on the north-east escaped the Nika 
fire, and served as the baptistery of the new church, until 
the square building, on the side of the church towards the 
Augusteum, which is spoken of in the Ceremonies as the 
" Great Baptistery by the Horologium,** was erected for or 
diverted to this purpose. 

We very probably have some relics of the earlier build- 
ings in certain capitals which Salzenberg found in the church '} 
the inscribed brides,^ and a Byzantine Corinthian capital now 
lying in the courtyard, may likewise have belonged to it. 
The fine bronze doors to south poi'ch are evidently earlier 
than the present church, and so probably are the slabs of 
which the screen on south side of first floor is partly made up. 

^ See Stlz., plate zz., figs. 4, 5. ' Ibid. p. 19. 



J^he New Church. — ^The pre-Justinian church was burnt 
on the 15th January, 532 ^ — the first day of the sedition — 
and the work of reconstruction was begun on the 23rd of 
the following month.^ 

Theophanes ' says the period employed in the construction 
was five years eleven months and ten days ; the statements 
therefore of Codinus and Glytas, that it took seventeen years 
to build, are completely at variance with this more credible 

The solemn dedication took place, as Marcellinus Comes 
describes,* on 26th December, 537, Indiction 15, in the 
eleventh year of Justinian's reign. 

A description of this dedication' ceremony is given by 
Theophanes.*^ "The procession started from the church of 
Anastasia, Menas the patriarch sitting in the royal chariot, 
and the king walking with the people." 

In the thirty-second year of Justinian's reign an earth- 
quake destroyed a great portion of the newly erected 

Now Procopius, whose contemporary history of the 

1 Chron. Fasch, ed. Bonn, p. 622. 

' Zonaras also gives the true date ; according to the Byzantine era 
the year of the world 6040. In Cedrenus it appears as 6008, a copyist's 
error in writing t{ for /*'. 

< Ed. Bonn, p. 338. ^ Migne, S.L. vol. li., p. 943. 

* Ed. Bonn, p. 378. • 7heo. p. 359. 


edifices built by Justinian was, according to Krumbacher,^ 
finished and published in the year 558 or the spring of 559 
at latest, makes no mention of this earthquake of 558, 
though he describes in full how, during the building of the 
church, which was completed in 537, the piers of the eastern 
arch threatened to give way before it was finished. We may 
therefore conclude that he describes Justinian's church in its 
first state. 

The translation from Procopius here given is based on 
that of Mr. Aubrey Stewart, published by the Palestine 
Pilgrims' Text Society, which has been compared with the 
original. We eive in Fig. 3 a plan of the church as built by 
Justinian, so far as the evidence will allow of an approxi- 
mately certain restoration. 

As the several difiFerent curved portions of the plan are 
difiicult to distinguish, we propose so far as possible to reserve 
cert^ words for separate parts. The small eastern semi- 
circle and its vault will be called apse and apsoid respectively. 
Hemicyde and semidome will refer to the great semicirde 
at the east or west and its vault. The pairs of curved spaces 
forming the lateral recesses in the hemicydes we propose to 
name exedras and their half-domes conchs. 

Procopius. — " The lowest dregs of the people in Byzan- 
tium once assailed the Emperor Justinian in the rebellion 
called Nika, which I have clearly described in my History 
of the Wars. To prove that it was not merely against the 
emperor but no less against God that they took up arms, 
they ventured to burn the church of the Christians which 
the people of Byzantium call Sophia, a name most worthy of 
God. God permitted them to efifect this crime, knowing 
how great the beauty of this church would be when restored.. 
Thus the church was entirely reduced to ashes ; but the 
Emperor Justinian not long afterwards adorned the new one 
in such a fashion, that if any one had asked the Christians in 
former times, if they wished their church to be destroyed 
and thus restored, showing them the appearance of the 

^ Gisclnchte der Byzantiniscber Littiratur^ 1893, p. 42. Ramsay says 
it could not have been completed until 560. See Historical Geography 9f 
Asia Minor^ p. 205. 



Fia. 3.— Plan of S. Sophia u built b; Jnitiniao. 



church which we now see, I think it probable that they 
would have prayed that they might so soon as posdble behold 
their church destroyed, in order that it might be changed 
into its present form. The emperor, thinking not of cost of 
any kind, pressed on the work, and collected tc^ether workmen 
{technitai) from every land. Anthemius of Tralles, the most 
skilled in the builder's art, not only of his own but of all 
former times, carried forward the king's zealous intentions, 
organised the labours of the workmen, and prepared models 
of the future construction. Associated with him was another 
architect (mecfianopoios) named Isidorus, a Milesian by birth, 
a man of intelligence, and wcMthy to carry out the plans of 
the Emperor Justinian. It is indeed a proof of the esteem 
with which God regarded the emperor, that he furnished 
him with men who would be so useful in effecting his designs, 
and we are compelled to admire the wisdom of the emperor, 
in being able to choose the most suitable -of mankind to 
execute the noblest of his works. 

^^The church consequently presents a most glorious 
spectacle, extraordinary to those who behold it, and altc^ether 
incredible to those who are told of it. In height it rises to the 
very heavens, and overtops the ndghbouring buildings like a 
ship anchored among them, appearing above the rest ofthe dty, 
while it adorns and forms a part of it. One of its beauties 
is that being a part of and growing out of the city, it rises 
so high that the whole city can be seen as from a watch- 
tower. The length and breadth are so judiciously arranged 
that it appears to be bpth long and wide without being 

^^ It is distinguished by indescribable beauty, excelling both 
in its size, and in the harmony of its measures, having no 
part excessive and none deficient ; being more magnificent 
than ordinary buildings, and much more el^ant thw those 
which are not of so just a proportion. The church is 
singularly full of light and sunshine ; you would declare that 
the place is not lighted by the sun from without, but that 
the rays are produced within itself, such an abundance of 
light is poured into this church. The Apse. — Now the head 
(j>rosopon) of the church (that is to say the part towards the 


rising sun, where the sacred mysteries are performed in 
honour of God) is built as follows. The buildmg rises from 
the ground not in a straight line, but setting back somewhat 
obliquely, it retreats in the middle into a rounded form 
which those who are learned in these matters call semi- 
cylindrical, rising perpendicularly. Apoid and Semidome. — 
The upper part of this work ends in the fourth part of 
a sphere, and above it another crescent-shaped (mehoeides) 
structure is raised upon the adjacent parts of the building, 
admirable for its beauty, but causing terror by the apparent 
weakness of its construction ; for it appears not to rest upon 
a secure foundation, but to hang dangerously over the heads 
of those below, although it is really supported with espedal 
firmness and safety. Exedras. — On each side of these parts 
are columns standing upon the floor, which are not placed 
in a straight line, but arranged with an inward curve of 
semicircular shape, one beyond another like the dancers in a 
chorus. These columns support above them a crescent-shaped 
structure. Opposite the east wall is built another wall, 
contuning the entrances, and upon dther side of it also 
stand columns, with stone-work above them, in a half-circle 
exactly like those previously described. Greaf Piers and 
Arches. — In the midst of the chiu'ch are four masses of 
stone called piers ( pessot)^ two on the north, and two on the 
south sides, opposite and alike, having four columns in the 
space between each pair. These piers are formed of large 
stones fitted together, the stones being carefully selected, and 
cleverly jointed into one another by the masons,^ and 
reaching to a great height. Looking at them, you would 
compare them to perpendicular dififs. Upon them, four 
arches {apsides)^ arise over a quadrilateral space. The 
extremities of these arches join one another in pairs, their 
ends resting upon the piers, while the other parts of them 
rise to a great height, suspended in the air. Two of these 
arches, that is those towards the rising and the setting of the 
sim, are constructed over the empty air, but the others have 
under them some stone-work, and small columns. Dome 

^ Xi0oX((yos — really one who picks out and lays stones. 

' h^kt '* a binding together/' used for either an arch or a semidome. 


and Pendentives. — Now above the9e arches is nused a circular 
building of a curved form through which the light of day first 
shines; for the building, which I imagine overtops the 
whole country, has small openings left on purpose, so that 
the places where these intervals occur may serve for the 
light to come through. Thus far I imagine the building 
is not incapable of being described, even by a weak and 
feeble tongue. As the arches are arranged in a quadrangular 
figure, the stone-work between them takes the shape of a 
triangle, the lower angle of each triangle, bdng compressed 
where the arches unite, is slender, wlule the upper part becomes 
wider as it rises in the space between them, and ends against the 
drclewUch rests upon them, fomung there its remaining 
angles. A spherical-shaped dome (jholos) standing upon this 
circle makes it exceedingly beautifld ; from the lightness 
of the building, it does not appear to rest upon a solid 
foundaticm, but to cover the place beneath as though it 
were suspended ftom heaven by the fabled golden diain. 
All these parts surpri^ngly joined to one another in the air, 
suspended one from another, and resting only on that which 
is next to them, form the work into one admirably harmonious 
whole, which spectators do not dwell upon for long in the 
mass, as each individual part attracts the eye to itself. The 
sight causes men constantly to change their point of view, 
and the spectator can nowhere point to any part which he 
admires more than the rest. Seeing the art which appears 
everywhere, men contract their eyebrows as they look at each 
part, and are unable to comprehend such workmanship, but 
always depart thence, stupdSed, through their incapacity. 
So much for this. 

*^ The Emperor Justinian and the architects Anthemius and 
Isidorus used many devices to construct so lofty a church with 
security. One of these I will now explsun, by which a man 
may form some opinion of the strength of tne whole work ; 
as for the others I am not able to discover them all, and find 
it impossible to describe them in words. It is as follows : 
The piers, of which I just now spoke, are not constructed in 
the same manner as the rest of^ the building ; but in this 
fashion ; they consist of quadrangular courses of stone, rough 


by nature, and made smooth by art ; of these stones, those 
which make the projecting angles of the pier are cut angularly 
(engonios)j while those which go in the middle parts of the 
sides are cut square (jetragonos). 

" They are fasten^ together not with lime (Htanos)y called 
* unslaked ' {asbestos)^ not with asphaltum, the boast of Semi- 
ramis at Babylon, nor anything of the kind, but with lead, 
which, poured into the interstices, has sunk into the joints 
of the stones, and binds them together ; this is how they are 

^* Let us now proceed to describe the remaining parts of the 
church. The entire ceiling is covered with pure gold, which 
adds to its glory, though the reflections of the gold upon the 
marble surpass it in beauty. There are two ^sles one above 
another on each side, which do not in any way lessen the size 
of the church, but add to its ^dth. In length they reach 
quite to the ends of the building, but in height they fall 
short of it ; these also have domed ceilings adorned with 
gold. Of these two porticoes one [ground floor] is set apart 
tor male and the other [upper floor] for female worshippers ; 
there is no variety in them, nor do they difier in any respect 
from one another, but their very equality and similarity add 
to the beauty of the church. Who could describe these 
gynaeceum galleries, or the numerous porticoes (jtoat) and 
doistered courts ( peris tuloi aulai) with which the church is 
surrounded ? Who could tell of the beauty of the columns 
and marbles with which the church is adorned ? One would 
think that one had come upon a meadow full of flowers in 
bloom 1 Who would not admire the purple tints of some, 
and the green of others, the glowing red and the glittering 
white, and those too, which nature, painter-like, has marked 
with the strongest contrasts of colour.? Whoever enters 
there to worship perceives at once that it is not by any human 
strength or skill, but by the favour of God, that this work 
has been perfected ; the mind rises sublime to commune with 
God, feeling that He cannot be far oflP*, but must especially 
love to dwell in the place which He has chosen ; and this is 
felt not only when a man sees it for the first time, but it 
always makes the same impression upon him, as though he 


had never beheld it before. No one ever became weary of 
this spectacle, but those who are in the church delight in what 
they see, and, when they leave, magnify it in their talk. 
Moreover it is impossible accurately to describe the gold, 
and ^ver, and gems, presented by the Emperor Justinian ; 
but by the description of one psirt, I leave the rest to be 
inferred. — That part of the church which is espedally sacred, 
and where the priests alone are allowed to enter, which is 
called the Sanctuary (jhusiasterum\ contains forty thousand 
pounds' weight of silver. 

^* The above is an account, written in the most abridged and 
curscxy manner, describing in the fewest possible words the 
most admirable structure of the church at Constantinople, 
which is called the Great Church, built by the Emperor 
Justinian, who (Ud not merely supply the funds for it, but 
assisted at its building by the labour and powers of lus mind, 
as I will now explain. Of the twa arches {apsides)y which 
I lately mentioned — ^the architects (mechanapoioi) csJl them 
loroi ^ — ^that one which stands towards the east had been built 
up on each ^de, but had not altogether been completed in 
the middle, where it was still imperfect ; when the piers 
{pes sot) upon which the building rested, unable to support 
the wdght which was put upon them, somehow all at once 
spUt open, and seemed as though before long they would fall 
to pieces. Upon this Anthemius and Isidorus, terrified at 
what had taken place, referred the' matter to the emperor, 
losing all confidence in their own skilL He at once, I know 
not by what impulse, but probably inspired by Heaven, for he 
is not an architect, ordered them to complete this arch ; for 
it, ssud he, resting upon itself, will no longer need the piers 
{pessoi) below.^ Now if this story were unsupported by 
witnesses, I am well assured that it would seem to be written 
in order to flatter, and would be quite incredible ; J)ut as 
there are many witnesses now alive of what then took place 
I shall not hesitate to finish it. The workmen performed his 
bidding, the arch was safely suspended, and proved by ex- 

^ Xfipds ** A thong " or a belt. 

' The author seems here to mistake the piers for the temporary support 
of the arch while it was being built. 


periment the truth of his concepdon. So much then for 
this part of the bmlding ; now with regard to the other 
arches, those looking to the south and to the north, the 
following inddents took place. When the arches called 
loroi were raised aloft during the building of the church 
everything below them laboured under their weight, and the 
columns which are placed there shed little scales, as though 
they had been planed. 

** Alarmed at this, the architects (mechanikoi) ag^n referred 
the matter to the emperor, who devised the following 
scheme. He ordered the upper part of the work that was 

g'ving way to be taken down where it touched the arches 
r the present, and to be replaced afterwards when the damp 
had thoroughly left the fabric This was done, and the 
building has stood safely ever since, so that the structure, as 
it were, bears i/ntness to the emperor's skill." 

Fall of Dome and Restoration. — On the 7th of May, 558, 
the eastern part of the dome, ** built by Isaurian workmen, 
with the apse, was thrown down by an earthquake, destroying 
in its fall the holy table, the ciboium, and the ambo/' ^ 
Reference is made to this in the opening lines of the 
Silentiary's poem (see Chapter III.). According to Theo- 
phanes ^^ the architects attributed its fall to the ract that to 
save expense the piers had been made too full of openings. 
The emperor restored the piers and raised the dome twenty 
feet.'' The church was again consecrated in the fifth year 
after the catastrophe by Eutychius in the thirty-sixth year of 
Justinian, on the 24th of December.^ Theophanes ' describes 
the emperor and patriarch as riding together to the church 
in a chariot, and bearing the gospel with them, ^^ while the 
people chanted the * Lift up your gates.' " 

The church, after its repair, is described by three con* 
temporary authors — ^Paul the Silentiary, Agathias, and 
Evagrius. The poem of the first of these is given in the 
next chapter. 

1 Theophanes, Chronographia^ ed. Bonn, vol. i., p. 359. 
^ Chron, Pascb. ed. Bonn, and Zonaras. 
' Chron. ed. Bonn, p. 369. 


Agdthias. — Agathias, sumamed the scholar, was bom in 
536 at Myrina in Asia Minor,^ studied at Alexandria, and 
came in 554 to Constantinople, where he became known as 
a historian and a poet, and died in 582. 

Justinian, he says, restored several buildings after the earth- 
quake, his espedal care however was the great church of 
S. Sophia,^ " Now the former church having been burnt 
by the angry mob, Justinian bwlt it up agsun from the 
foundations as big and more beautiful and wonderful, and 
this most beautiful design was adorned with much predous 
metaL He built it in a round form ^th burnt brick and 
lime, it was bound tc^ether here and there with iron, but 
they avoided the use of wood, so that it should no more be 
easily burnt. Now Anthemius was the man who devised and 
worked at every part. 

<«And as by die earthquake the middle portion of the roof 
and the higher parts had been destroyed, the king made it 
stronger, and nused it to a greater height. Anthemius was 
then dead, but the young man Isidorus and the other crafts- 
men, turning over in thdr minds the previous design, and 
comparing what had fallen with what remained, estimated 
where the error lay, and of what kind it was. They deter- 
mined to leave the eastern and western arches {apsides) as 
they were. But of the northern and southern (ardies) they 
brought towards the inside, that portion of the buil(ting 
which was on the curve.' And they made these arches wider 
so as to be more in harmony with the others, thus making 
the equilateral symmetry more perfect. In this way they 
were able to cover the measurelessness of the empty space, 
and to steal off some of its extent to form an oblong design. 
And agsun they wrought that which rose up over it in die 
middle, whether orb (Jtuklos)y or hemisphere, or whatever 
other name it may be called. And this also became more 
straightforward and of a better curve, in every part agreeing 
with the line ; and at the same time not so wide but higher, 
so that it did not frighten the spectators as formerly, but was 
set much stronger and safer." 

^ Krumbacher, p. 49. ' Agathias, lib. v. ed. Bonn, p. 296. 

' r^ IfA rciv KVfmo/Aaro^ otico&jfuay. 








Evagrius. — ^This historian was bom in 536 a.d.^ at 
Epiphania on the Orontes. In his Ecclesiastical History we 
learn of the suffering caused by the invasion of Chosroes in 
540. From this time all Syria was continually disturbed, 
and the educated Christians fell back more and more on 
G)nstantinople. Evagrius came to Constantinople in 589, 
though he returned to Antioch afterwards. His history 
commences with the Council of Ephesus in 43 1 and extends 
to the year 593. He says ^ : — 

^^In the city of Constantinople Justinian constructed 
many churches of wonderful beauty in honour of God, and 
the saints among them was a great and incomparable work 
of a kind that none like it was ever remembered — the great 
church of S. Sophia; which excelling in beauty, far surpasses 
power of description. 

^*As far as I can I will explwi it. The nave (naos) of the 
temple has a dome . (jholos) over it spreading its weight on 
four arches, raised to such a height, that to those looking 
from below it is difficult to see the whole hemisphere. And 
those who are above, however bold they are, never dare to 
bend over and look on to the ground : and the arches are 
open from the base up to their crown. On the right and 
left however, opposite to one another, are ranged columns of 
Thessalian marble. These vrith other neighbouring columns 
carry upper chambers, which ofler a place to lean forward 
for those who wish. Here it is that the empress is wont to 
attend service on festal days. 

^ But the arches to east and west are left so that nothing 
interferes with admiration of their size. Now the arcades of 
the just mentioned upper chambers are supported from 
beneath by columns and small arches, which greatly add to 
the work. In order that the wonder of this building may 
be more easily grasped, I have here placed in feet the 
measures of the length, breadth, and height ; and of the 
arches their diameter and height. The length then from the 
door opposite the holy apse, where is offered the bloodless 
sacrifice, to the apse itself is 190 feet ; the breadth of the 

^ Krumbacher, p. 53. 

' Hist. Eccies. iv., chap. 31* 


nave from north to south is 115. The hdght from the 
centre of the dome to the ground is 1 80 feet. And of the 
arches, the width of each in feet is [no number given]. 
And the length from east to west is 200 feet. The width of 
the opening is 75 feet.^ There are also to the west two fine 
porticoes, and everywhere open courts of wonderful beauty." 
Paul the Silentiary. — ^As this author's really detailed 
account of the church is of considerable length, we have 
reserved it for the next chapter, although it was written be- 
fore the descriptions just given by Agathias and Evagrius. 
For the little that is known of the author we are almost 
entirely indebted to his friend Agathias, who says : ^^ If any 
one living perchance far from this dty, wishes to know and 
see everything as if present and looking on, let him read 
what Paulus, son of Cyrus, son of Florus, has written in 
hexameter verse ; he is chief of the Royal Silentiaries, and 
sprung from a noble race ; inheriting ancestral wealth, yet 
zealously brought up in the study of letters, by which he 
was the more glorious and famous. He wrote \ number of 
other poems worthy of memory and pnuse, but it seems to 
me that that which he wrote on the Great Church is com- 
pleted with the most skill and labour, even as its subject is 
more worthy than any other. For you wiML find in his poem 
the arrangement of the form, and the nature of the stones 
explained ; the beauty and purpose of the curtains ; the 
lengths and heights, what is curved and what straight, what 
projects and what is suspended. You will learn, too, how 
with silver and gold the more sacred part, intended for the 
divine mysteries, was adorned ; as well as whatever ornament 
great or small is there, which those who frequent the church 
may see." 

The ^entiaries, of whom Paulus was one, were court 
offidals. . Their office was an exalted one, as they, ranked 
witk.thel senators, and were employed on^ kinds x>f service, 
not un^equently becoming the historians of the- emperor. 
Paulus belonged to the cultivated and literary cirde, who 
during Justinian's reign interested themsdves in literature, 

^ The dimensions appear so inaccurate that we do not attempt to 
explain them. 



and to him are attributed more than eighty poems in the 
Anthqlogy^^.- - 

The description or rather explanation of S. Sophia was 
most probably written and recited as an Opening Ode at the 
Encaema-of- December- 24t]V'-55^. IK r t imi (in SalL &^ 
beig) conjectures that the poem was recited in ^^ a hall of 
the Imperial Palace/' but Du Gmge is probably more 
correct m assigning only the first eighty lines to the Palace. 
The succeeding lines he says ^^ were addressed to the clergy in 
the Patriarch's Palace/' but we believe, from the antijtHesis 
between thcJPalaccLpf the'Hiihperorand the House of God; 
thatrTfie address to tK patriandh was spkijte^ withhr- the 
walls .of the- churdi.4(seUy and thkt the- wHcde- poem, which is 
divided infb^^^ was writt£rLto_br rrriUid in con 
n frt i n n Tnth -thr ^ rpfrning r t rrmnnx j^^'^rio ned above. 

It shows us how much architecture was esteemed by 
Justinian, that the historian of his wars wrote also a .history 
of his buildings ; and the court poet was employra to cele- 
brate the greatest of them in verse. On many accounts 
the poem is the , best .andent architectura l" "de scription 
ex^aat^xZ^^ls ixact in accuracy, most ordeflylh its sequence 
when read with a knowledge of the building, and must have 
been^written within its walls. A close and careful -study 
written ^eii architc cttti'al ideas were in the ascendant — ^the 
chief subject of thought in times of peace — it is no futile 
attempt to expl^n a work of genius m terms of mechanics 
and foot-rule measurements, vSier the manner of an archi- 
tectural lecture, but it translates the ideas of the artist into 
the words of the poet. The concrit of Homeric metre 
and phrasing is almost a charm at this distance of time, 
the poet's enthusiasm being quite suffident to carry oiF the 
aflfectation of attempting an architectural epic It is not 
however in its form but in its stimulus to imagination that 
we see its chief value. 

^ Salz. JU. BMud. 



The fii^t eighty lines of the Pjelude are an eulogy on 
the^emperor. The ^sucoeoling lines were addressed to the 
clergy. " We come to you, sirs, from the home of the 
emperor, to the home of the Almighty Emperor, the 
Deviser of the Universe, by whose grace victory cleaves to 
our lord. The august head of our state lent a kindly ear 
to our words, as he sat in the hall ; now we see the chief of 
the sacred priests. May he too favour us, and may none of 
those who listen carp at our words." 

The poem itself, i n long Homeric hexameters, beg ins by 
describing the general peace throughout t he Roma n world 
at the time of tt^ e res^^r^i^p lyf 5> ?>npfiifl Dr. Kortum 

notes the following references to events only then recently 
passed. The rule of the Vand^^^ in^ ^Africa had be en 
dr^trf>yfH hy BHi<^^^"<* (f3l)i ^^^ aTater msurrection 
quelled: -(545) ; the reign of »hf ^fttrogofh{f\ in thc.'^^*'^ had 
come to.^n eiid X?C4) , and pea ce had ju st been concTiided 
with the PersiaiMr(56i'). There is also'w'allu^on to the 
conspmcy cf^is same year, when an attempt was made on 
the emperor's life. 

The poet then, describing the ruin caused by t;he earth- 
qu^e (558) at S. Sophia, tells us that ** Ae ver y 
tSiS^ta XmR^^af t h e dome failed, and th ick clouds of dust 
darkened the midday sun. Yet the whole church did not 
fall, but only the jop of the easter n vault, and a portion of 
the dome afaiove. Part lay on tEe'^wind', part open to the 

D 2 

36 S. SOPHIA lines 152-223 

light of day, hung suspended in the air/' ^^But the 
emperor soon began to build again, the Genius of New 
Rome by his side/' 
When the emperor went to the ruins of the church he 

{)raised the skilml graft of Anthemius ; ^^ he it was who 
aid the first foundations of the church, one skilled to draw 
a drcle or set out a plan.^ And he gave to the walls 
strength to resist the pushing arches, which were like active 
demons. This time it was not merely the crown of the arch 
that gave way [see above, p. 28], for the very piers were 
shaken to their foundations/ 

The poet now describes the building : " Whoever raises 
his eyes to the beauteous firmament of tihe roof, scarce dares 
to gaze on its rounded expanse sprinkled with the stars of 
heaven, but turns to the fresh green marble below, seeming 
as it were to see flower-bordered sffeararisr Thessaly, 
and budding com, and woods thick with trees ; leaping 
flocks too and twining olive-*trees, and the vine with green 
tendrils, or the deep blue peace of sununer sea, broken by 
the plashing oars of spray-girt ship. Whoever puts foot 
within the sacred fane, would live there for ever, and his eyes 
well with tears of joy. Thus by Divine counsel, while 
angels watched, was the temple built again. 

^* At last the holy mom had come, and the great door of 
the new-built temple groaned on its opening hinges, inviting 
emperor and people to enter ; and When the inner part was 
seen sorrow ned from the hearts of all, as the sun lit the 
glories of the temple. 'Twas for the emperor to lead the 
way for his people, and on the morrow to celebrate the birth 
c^ Christ. And when the first gleam of light rosy-armed 
driving away the dark shadows, leapt from arch to arch, 
then all the princes and people with one voice hymned their 
songs of prayer and pnuse ; and as they came to the sacred 
courts, it seemed tp them as if the mighty arches were set in 

jfpse and Exedras. — ** Towards the East unfold triple spaced 
of semicircular form ; and above, on an upright band of 
wall, soars aloft the fourth part of a sphere. Even so, high 

lines 224-261 THE SILENTIARY'S POEM 37 

over its back and triple crest, shimmer the tail feathers of a 
peacock, with their countless eyes. These crowning parts men 
learned in the builder's art call conchs ; and certain it is they 
call them so from a shell of the sea, or 'tis a craftsman's 

Apse. — ^ The middle apse holds the stalls {thokot) and steps 
{bathrd) ranged circle-wise. Some on the level of the groimd 
are masked dose together round the centre ; and as they rise 
higher, with the spaces between them, they widen out little 
by little, until they come to the stalls of silver. Thus with 
increasing circles they ever wheel round a fixed drde in the 

Bema. — " Now the apse is separated [from the nave] by a 
space between vertical walls built on strong foundations, 
with an arch ^ above, not a portion of a sphere, but in the 
form of a cylinder cleft in twain. 

Exedras. — **And westwards again are ty^o conchs on 
columns, one on either side ; projecting as if stretching 
out bent arms to. embrace the people singing in the church. 
They are borne by columns of porphyry, bright of bloom 
ranged in semicircular line, and with capitals {karenot) of 
gold, carrying the weight of the arches {kukloi) above. 
These columns were once brought from the difis of Thebes, 
which stand, like greaved warriors, by the banks of Nile. 
Thus, on two columns, on either side, rise the lower parts of 
either exedra {apsis). And for the support of each, the 
skilled workman has bent from below three small semi- 
circular arches (apsides) ; and, beneath their springing, the 
tops {kareata) of the columns are bound with well-wrought 
bronze, overlaid with gold, which drives away all fear. Now 
above the porphyry columns stand others from Thessaly, 
splendid flowers of fresh green. Here are the fair upper 
galleries for the women. These too have arches, as may be 
seen from bdow, though they show six Thessalian columns 
and not two. And one wonders at the power of him, who 
bravely set six columns over two, and has not trembled to fix 
their bases over empty wr.^ 

^ Slvto^^ the circular rim of a shield. Used here for the bema-arch. 
' Column does not stand directly over column. 

— 1 1 1 — J 1 1 Ll_I 1 1 I I 1 I ■ ■ 

xx&kiJH rxsx 

Fia 5.— GnniDd Plan. 

Fig. 6. — PUd of Gjtiutecenm Galleries. The left-hand side of eich plan Khom (he 
vanitt, and the right-hand side the iion lie* and wood stints at epringing of vanlU. 

40 S. SOPHIA lines 262-27 

^* Now the workman has fenced all the spaces between the 
Thessalian columns, with stone closures, on which the women 
can lean and support their elbows. Thus as you ndse your 
gaze to the eastern arches {antuges) a never-ending wonder 

Eastern Semidome. — *^And upon all of them, above the 
curved forms rises yet another vault {apsis\ borne on the 
air, raising its head aloft up to the wide-reaching arch, on 
whose back are firml v fixed the lowest courses of the divine 
head-piece (jkoros) of the centre of the church. Thus rises 
on high the deep-bosomed vault, borne above triple voids 
below ; and through fivefold openings, pierced in its back, 
filled with thin plates of glass, comes the morning light 
scattering sparkling rajrs. 

Part II 

Western End. — "And looking towards the sunset, one might 
see the same as towards the dawn, though a portion difiFers. 
For there in the centre it is not drawn round in a drde, as 
on the eastern boundary, where sit the learned priests on 
seats of resplendent silver, but at the west end is a vast 
entrance (puleon) ; not only one door, but three. 

Narthex. — "And outside of the doors (pulai) there stretches 
a long porch {aulon\ receiving beneath wide portals (jhure^ 
trot) those that enter ; and it is as long as the wondrous 
church is broad. In the Greek speech this part is called the 
narthex. Here through the night swells the melodious 
sound, pleasing to the ears of Him who giveth life to all ; 
when the psalms of David are sung in antiphonal strains — 
that sweet-voiced David, whom the divine voice of the 
Almighty praised, and whose glorious posterity conceived 
the sinless Son of God, who was in Virgin's pangs brought 
forth, and subjected to a Mother's care. Now into this 
porch open seven wide holy gates {puleones)^ inviting the 
people to enter. One of them is on the south of the narrow 
porch, and another opens to Boreas, but the others are 
opened on creaking hinges by the doorkeeper {neokoros) in 
the west wall. This wall is the end of tne church. 

lines 28-67 THE SILENTIARY'S POEM 41 

"Whither am I carried? What breeze has driven, like a 
ship at sea, my errant speech? The very centre of the 
famous church is all foi^otten ; return, my muse, to see 
the wonders scarcely to be believed when seen or heard. 

The Four Piers. — ** Alongside of the eastern and western 
curves (kukloi) — ^the half-drcles with their pairs of columns 
from Thebes— stand four strong well-built piers (joichoi\ 
naked to look on in front, but on their sides and backs they 
have supporting arches, and the four rest on strong founda- 
tions of hard stones. In the joints the workman has mixed 
and poured the dust of firebunit stone, binding all together 
with the builder's art. 

"A^^^^hem spring measureless curved arches like the 
many-coloured bow of Iris : one opens towards the home of 
Zephyr, another to Boreas, another to Notus, and yet another 
to the fiery Eurus. And every arch {antux) has its foot at 
either end fixed unshaken, and joined to the neighbouring 
curves. But as each rises slowly in the air in bending line, 
it separates from the other to which first it was joined. 

The Pendentives. — "Now the part between these same 
arches {apsides) is filled with wondrous skill. For where, 
as needs must be, the arches bend away from one another, 
and would have shown empty ^r, a curved wall, like a 
triangle, grows over, touching the rim of the arches on either 
side. And the four triangles, creeping over, spread out, until 
they become united above the crown of each arch. The 
middle portion of the arches, as much as forms the curved rim, 
the builder's skill has formed with thin bricks {plinthoi)y and 
has thus made fast the topmost curves of the house of stone. 

"Now in the joints they have put sheets of soft 
lead, lest the stones, as they lie on one another, adding 
weight to weight, should have their backs broken. Thus 
with the lead inserted, the pressure is softened, and the stone 
foundation is gently burdened. 

Cornice of Dome. — " A rim {antux) curving round, is firmly 
fixed on the backs (of the arches), where rests the base of the 
hemisphere ^ ; this is the circle of the lowest course which 

^ v^aSfrrfi ^furofAoiOf the ^fuff^aipwv of Agathias and Evagrius. This 
word IS used by Ensebius for the dome of the Holy Sepulchre. 

4* S.SOPHIA lines 68-113 

they have set as a crown on the backs of the arches {apsides). 
And just under the projecting firmament {kosmos)y the 
hanging stones form a narrow curved path, on which the man 
who cares for the sacred lights can walk fearlessly, and trim 
each in turn. 

The Dome. — ** And above all rises into the immeasurable 
Bir the great helmet [of the dome], which, bending over, 
like the radiant heavens, embraces the church. And at the 
highest part, at the crown, was depicted^ the cross, the 
protector of the city. And wondrous it b to see how the 
dome graduaUy rises, wide below, and growing less as it 
reaches higher. It does not however spring upwards to a 
sharp point, but is like the firmament which rests on air, 
though the dome is fixed on the strong backs of the arches.*' 

(Here is a lacuna in the Greek text ; two broken lines, 
94) 95» speak of '* window openings made in the apses, 
through which streams the splendour of the golden morning 

** With dauntless pen I will describe what plan the emperor 
devised for the broad church, and how, with builder's skill, 
both the curves of the arches and the vault of the wid^- 
extended house were formed with thin bricks {flinthoi)^ and 
raised on firm foundations. Thus the skilful master-man, 
well versed in every craft, formed a ceiling to the lofty 
nave. Yet he did not send to the hills of Phoenician 
Lebanon, nor to search the dark woods of the Alpine crags, 
nor where some Assyrian or Celtic woodman goads on the 
oxen in dense forests, nor did he think to use fir (peuke) or 
pine (elate) to roof the house. From neither the glades of 
Daphne ^ by Orontes, nor from the wooded crags of Patara • 
came cypress wood, to form a covering for the mighty 
temple. For our noble king, since nature could produce no 
timber great enough, had it covered with stones (Jithoi) laid 
in a round form*. Thus on the four arches {apsides) rose, 

' iyfXL^ leaves no doubt that a mosaic cross on the interior is intended, 
and not, as Salzenberg suggests, a cross on the outside. The full expres- 
sion for representations in mosaic was im,raypd/^€w ^InjifSSi : as in Joannes 
Lydus (f 550), De MMgistratibus ii. 20, in his description of the palace 
built by the Praetorian Prefect. 

* Near Antioch. • A town of Lycia. 

lines 114-154 THE SILENTIARY'S POEM 43 

like a beauteous helmet, the deep-bosomed swelling roof 
{kaluptrd) : and it seems that the eye, as it wanders round, 
gazes on the circling heavens. And beneath the two great 
arches {apsides)^ to the east and to the west, you must know 
that it is all open, and extended in the air. 

^* But towands the murmuring south wind and the cold dry 
north, a wall, mighty in strength, rises to the under side of 
the rounded arch {antux). Now this wall is made bright 
with eight windows, and rests below on great props of 
marble. For beneath it six columns, like the fresh green of 
the emerald, in union support untired the weight of wall. 
And these again are borne on strong coliunns fixed immovable 
on the ground, glittering jewels of Thessalian marble, with 
capitals above them like locks of golden hair. These separate 
the middle portion of the glorious nave from the neighbour- 
ing susle {aithousd) that stretches alongside. Never were 
such columns, blooming with a many-hued brightness,^ hewn 
from the craggy hills of sea-washed Molossis. 

Ntnrih AisU^ Centre Division. — " And in the aisle itself, in 
the middle space Anthemius of many crafts, and with him 
Isiodorus the wise, — ^for both of them, acting under the 
will of the king, built the mighty church — ^have placed two 
pairs of columns, and in measure they are less than those 
others near them, but they are as bright with fresh green 
bloom, and they came from the same quarry. 

*^ Yet their bases are not placed in a row, one after the 
other, but they stand on the pavement two facing two 
opposite ; and above their capitals on fourfold arches (seireai) 
rises the underside of the women's galleries. And close 
by these columns on the north side is a door, admitting the 
people to the founts that purify the stains of mortal life, 
and heal every deadly scar. 

^^ Thus on four columns of beautiful Thessalian stone, in 
order, placed here and there, towards the twilight and to the 
dawn, along the length of the dsle {aithousa) there curves a 
weight of bending vaults {kulindroi) extending to the walls, 
which are pierced with openings ; on the northern side they 

^ Mo%i a budy sprout or flower ; hence brightness and bloom 

44 S. SOPHIA lines 155-189 

lean on the spaces that join the twin windows,^ but on the 
south, instead of windows are empty spaces like a 

North Aisky East and West Divisions. — "And agsun 
towards the east and west stand two columns from Thes- 
saly, with lofty crests, and twin piers (jtemones) from 
famous Proconnesus, fixed close by the doors. Towards 
the east there is but one door, though on the side of the 
cold north they walk through twain. 

South Aisle. — ** On the south you will see a long aisle as 
on the north, yet made bigger. For a part is separated off 
from the nave by a wall, and here the emperor takes his 
accustomed seat on the solemn festivals, and listens to the 
reading of the sacred books. 

Gynaecea. — " And whoever mounts will find on both sides 
of the church the aisles for women similar to those below, 
and there is yet another, though not like those on either 
side, above the narthex. 

Atrium. — " Now on the western side of this divine church 
you will see a great open court {aule) surroimded by four 
cloisters. One of these joins on to the narthex, but the 
others spread round the ^des, where stand their several 
paths. In the very centre of the wide garth stands a 
spadous phiale, cleft from the lassian peaks ; and from it 
bubbling water gushes forth and throws a stream into the 
air, leaping up from the pressure of the brazen pipe — a 
stream that purges away all suflering, when the people, in 
the month of the golden vestments ^ at the mystic feast of 
Christ, draw the unsullied waters in vessels by night. And 
the water shows the power of God ;. for never will you find 
decay on its surface, even if it remsuns in its vessel, and away 
from the fountain for more than a year.' 

" Everywhere the walls glitter with wondrous designs, the 
stone for which came from the quarries of seagirt Procon- 

^ Ovperpoi is elsewhere a door. But ** twin doors " has no meaning 
here. See plan. 

' January ; the consuls then entered on their year of office, and wore 
chitons of gold thread. See Du Cange, S. Scf/na^ § it. 

* This custom at Antioch is mentioned as early as the time of S. John 
Chrysostom in a sermon on the Baptism of Christ. 

lines 190-234 THE SILENTIARY'S POEM 45 

nesus. The marbles are cut and joined like painted 
patterns, and in stones formed into squares or eight-sided 
figures the veins meet to form devices ; and the stones show 
also the forms of living creatures. 

^^ And on either side along the flanks and outskirts {antuges) 
of the beautiful church, you would see open courts {aulat). 
These were all planned about the building with cunning 
skill, that it might be bathed all round by the bright light 
of day. 

Sjb^^MAfittS. — ^* Yet who, even in the measures of Homer, 
shall sing the marble pastures gathered on the lofty walls 
and spreading pavement of the mighty church ? These the 
iron with its metal tooth has gnawra— the fresh green from 
Guystus, and many-coloured marble from the Phrygian 
range, in which a rosy blush mingles with white, or it shines 
bright with flowers of deep red and silver. There is a 
wealth of porphyry too, powdered with bright stars, that 
has once laden the river boat on the broad Nile. You 
would see an emerald green from Sparta, and the glittering 
marble with wavy veins, which the tool has worked in the 
deep bosom of the lassian hills, showing slanting streaks 
blood-red and livid white. From the Lydian creek came 
the bright stone mingled with streaks of red. Stone too 
there is that the Lybian sun, warming with his golden light, 
has nurtured in the deep-bosomed clefts of the hills of the 
Moors, of crocus colour glittering like gold ; and the 
product of the Celtic crags, a wealth of crystals, like milk 
poured here and there on a flesh of glittering black. There 
is the precious onyx, as if gold were shining through it: 
and the marble that the land of Atrax yields, not from some 
upland glen, but from the level plains ; in parts fresh green 
as the sea or emerald stone, or again like blue cornflowers 
in grass, with here and there a drift of fallen snow, — a sweet 
mingled contrast on the dark shining surface. 

SecHle and carved Spandrils. — "Before I come to the glitter 
of the mosaic,^ I must describe how the mason {laotoros)^ 
weaving together with skill thin slabs of marble, has 
figured on the flat surface of the walls intertwining curves 

^ ^fi^cScc — ^pebbles. The usual word for mosaic tesserae. 

46 S. SOPHIA lines 234-269 

laden with plenteous fruit, and baskets, and flowers, and birds 
sitting on the twigs. And the curved pattern of a twining 
vine with shoots like golden ringlets, weaves a winding 
chain of clusters; little by little does it put forth shoots, 
until it overshadows all the stone near with ripples like 
beauteous tresses. Such ornament as this surroimds the 

The Capitals. — "And the lofty crest of every column, 
beneath the marble abacus {peze)y is covered with many a 
supple curve of waving acanthus — a wandering chain of 
barbed points all golden, full of grace. Thus the marble in 
bulging forms crowns the deep red columns, as wool the 
distaff ; the stone glitterii^ with a beauty that charms the 

The Floor. — "And gladly have the hills of Proconnesus 
bent their backs to necessity, and strewed the floor with 
marble. In parts too shimmers the polish of the Bosporus 
stone, with white streaks on black. 

The. Mosaic. — "Now the vaulting is formed of many a 
little square {fsephos) of gold cemented together. And 
the golden stream of glittering rays pours down and strikes 
the eyes df men, so that they can scarcely bear to look. 
One might say that one gazed upon the midday sun in 
spring, what time he gilds each mountain height. 

Icono stasis. — "Our emperor has levied from the whole 
earth, and brought together the wealth of the barbarians of 
the west ; for as he did not deem stone a fitting adornment 
for the divine, eternal temple, on which [New] Rome has 
centred the expectancy of joy ; he has not spared enrich- 
ments of ^Iver, and so the ridge of Pangaeus^ and 
the height of Sunium ^ have opened all their silver veins, 
and many treasure-houses of our subject kings have yielded 
their stores. 

"For as much of the great church by the eastern arch as 
was set apart for the bloodless sacrifices, no ivory, no stone, 
nor bronze distinguishes, but it is all fenced with the silver 
metal. Not only upon the walls, which separate the holy 

^ In Macedonia. The mines are mentioned by Herodotus. 

* The promontory on the south of Attica. The mines were at Laurium. 

lines 270-310 THE SILENTIARY'S POEM 47 

priests from the crowd of singers,^ has he placed mere plates 
of ^Iver, but he has covered all the columns themselves 
with the silver metal, even six sets of twain; and the 
rays of light glitter far and wide. Upon them the tool 
has formed dazzling drcles, beautifully wrought in skilled 
symmetry by the craftsman's hand, in the centre of which is 
carved the symbol of the Immaculate God, who took upon 
Himself the form of man. In parts stand up an army of 
winged angels in pairs, with bent necks and downcast mien 
(for they could not gaze upon the glory of the Godhead, 
though hidden in the form of man to clear man's flesh from 
sin). And elsewhere the tool has fashioned the heralds of 
the way of God, even those by whose words were noised 
abroad, before He took flesh upon Him, the divine tidings 
of the Anointed One. Nor had the craftsman forgotten 
the forms of those others, whose childhood was with the 
fishii^-basket and the net ; but who left the mean labours 
of life and unholy cares to bear witness at the bidding of a 
heavenly king, fi^ng even for men, and forsaking the skill 
of casting nets to weave the beauteous seine of eternal life. 
In other parts art has limned (Jkategraphe) the Mother of 
Christ, the vessel of eternal Light, whose womb brought 
Him forth in holy travail. 

^^But on the middle panels of the sacred screen, which 
forms the barrier for the priests, the carver's art has cut one 
letter that means many words, for it combines the name of 
our king and queen. And he has also wrought a form like 
a shield with a boss, showing the cross in the middle parts. 
And through the triple doors the screen opens to the 
priests. For on each side the skilful hand of the workman 
has made small doors. 

The Ciborium. — "And above the all-holy table of gold 
rises in the air a tower {purges) indescribable, reared on 
fourfold arches of silver. And it is borne aloft on silver 
colimins, on whose tops every arch rests its silver feet. 
And above the arches rises a figure like a cone, yet it is not 
complete. For at the bottom its edge {antux) does not 
turn round in the circular form, but has an eight-sided base, 

^ voXvyXi&nroio ofuXov, the choir. 

48 S.SOPHIA lines 311-354 

and from a broad plan it gradually dimimshes to a sharp 
point, having eight sides of »lyer. And at the juncture ot 
each to other is, as it were, a long backbone (rachis) which 
seems to join with the triangular faces of the eight-sided 
form, and rises to a single crest, where is artfully wrought 
the form of a cup. And the edges of the cup bend over 
and assume the form of leaves, and in the midst of it has 
been placed a shining silver globe, and the cross surmounts 
it all. May it be an omen of peace ! But above the arches 
many a curve of acanthus twines round the lower part of 
the cone, and the plant shows sharp projections which rise 
up from the groundwork like the fruit of a fragrant pear^ 
glittering with light. 

^^ Now where the fitted edges join the flat base are fixed 
and set bowls of silver. And in each cup stands as it were a 
candle, though it is a glittering symbol not made of wax, 
and beauty flashes from them and not light. For they are 
made round of silver, brightly polished. Thus the candle 
flashes a sdver ray not the light of fire. 

The Altar. — *^ And on columns of gold is raised the all 
gold slab "^ of the holy table, stancUng on gold foundations, 
and bright with the glitter of different stones. 

^^Wluther am I carried? whither tends my unbridled 
speech ? Let my voice be silent, and not lay bare what is 
not meet for the eyes of the people to see. 

Altar Curtains. — ^* But, ye priests, as the sacred laws com- 
mand you, spread out the curtain dipped in the red dye of 
the Sidonian shell and cover the sacred table. Unfold the 
veils {kaluptrai) hanging on the four sides of silver, and 
show to the countless crowd a multitude of beautiful designs 
in gold of skilful handiwork. On one side is cunningly 
wrought the form of Christ. And this was not worked by 
skilful hands plying the needle on the stuff, but by the web, 
the produce of the worm ^ from distant lands, changing its 
coloured threads of many shades. A garment shimmering 
with gold, like the rays of rosy-fingered dawn, flashes down 
to the divine knees, and a chiton, deep red from the Tynan 

^ vwWf a back, and kencCy any wide, flat surface. 
' fvSpfi,7i(f the ant ; here the silkworm. 

lines 355-398 THE SILENTIARVS POEM 49 

shell dye, covers the right shoulder beneath its well-woven 
web. The veiling upper robe has slipped away, and pulled 
up across the dde it only covers the left shoulder, whUe the 
forearm and the hand are bare. He seems to point the 
fingers of the right hand, as if preaching the words of Life^ 
and in the left hand He holds the book of the divine message, 
— ^the book that tells what the Messiah accomplished when 
his foot was on the earth. And the whole robe shines with 
gold ; for on it a thin gold thread is led through the web, as 
if a fair chain was Isud on the cloth in a groove or channel 
and boimd with silken thread by sharp needles. And on 
either side stand the two messengers or God — ^Paul, ftdl of 
divine wisdom, and also the mighty doorkeeper^ of the Gates 
of Heaven, binding with both heavenly and earthly chdns. 
One holds the book pregnant with sacred words, and the 
other the form of a cross on a staff of gold. And both the 
cunning web has clothed in robes of silver white, and over 
their sacred heads rises upward a temple of gold, with triple 
apses fixed on four columns of gold. 

" Now on the extreme borders of the curtain shot with gold, 
unspeakable art has figifred the works of mercy of our dty's 
kings ; here one sees hospitals for the sick, there sacred 
fanes, while on either side are cUsplayed the miracles of 
Christ ; such is the grace and beauty of the work. 

^^ But on the other curtains you see the kings of the earth 
on one side with their hands joined to those of the Virgin, 
on the other side with those of Christ, and all is cunningly 
wrought by the threads of the woof with the sheen of a 
golden warp. Thus is everything adorned with splendour. 
Thus may you see all that fills the eyes with wonder. 

The Lighting. — " No words can describe the light at night- 
time; one might say in truth that some midnight sun 
illumined the glories of the temple. For the wise fore- 
thought of oiu* king has had stretched from the projecting 
rim {antux) of stone, on whose back is firmly planted the 
temple's air-borne dome, long twisted chains (jeirai) of 
beaten brass, linked in alternating curves with many windings. 
And these chains, bending down from every part in a long 
course, come together as they fall towards the ground. But 


50 S. SOPHIA lines 399-439 

before they reach the pavement, their path from above is 
checked, and they finish in unison on a circle. 

^^ And beneath each chain he has caused to be fitted silver 
discs, hanging drcle^wise in the air, roimd the space in the 
centre of the church. Thus these discs, pendent from their 
lofty courses, form a coronet above the heads of men. They 
have been pierced too by the weapon of the skilfrd workman, 
in order that they may receive shafts ^ of fire-wrought glass, 
and hold light on high for men at night. 

** And not from (Hscs alone does the light shine at night, 
but in the circles close by a disc you would see the symbol 
of the mighty cross^ pierced with many holes, and in its 
pierced back shines a vessel of light. Thus hangs the 
circling chorus of bright lights. Verily you might say that 
you gazed on the bright constellation of the Heavenly 
Crown by the Great Bear, and the neighbouring Dragon. 

"Thus through the temple wanders the evening light, 
brightly shining. In the middle of a larger cirde you 
would find a crown with lijghtbearing rim ; and above in 
the centre another noble disc spread its light in the air, so 
that night is compelled to flee. 

" Near the aisles too, alongside the cohunns, they have hung 
in order single lamps (lampUr) apart one from another ; and 
through the whole length of the far-stretching nave is thdr 
path. Beneath each they have placed a silver vessel, like a 
balance pan, and in the centre of this rests a cup of well- 
burning dl, 

** There is not however one equal level for all the lamps, 
for you may see some high, some low, in comely curves of 
light ; and from twisted chains they sweetly flash in their 
aerial courses, even as shines twin-p<nnted Hyas fixed in the 
fbrehead of Taurus. 

" One might also see ships of silver, bearing a flashing 
freight of flame, and plying their lofty courses in the liquid 
air instead of the sea, feanng no gale from south-west, nor 
from Bootes, sinking late to rest. And above the wide floor 
you would see shapely beams (with lamps), running between 

^ ovptaxoi. Used in Homer of the butt encf of a spear ; hence long 
narrow glass lamps. See our Fig. 17. 

lines 440-484 THE SILENTIARY'S POEM 51 

two-homed supports of iron, by whose light the orders 
of priests, bound by the rubrics, perform their duties. 

^^ Some there are along the floor, where the columns have 
their bases, and above agsun others pass, by far-reaching 
courses, along the crowning work of the Walls. Neither is 
the base of ^e deep-bosomed dome left without light, for 
along the projecting stone of the curved cornice the skilful' 
workman suspends single lamps to bronze stakes. As wheil 
some handmaid binds round the neck of a royal virgin a^ 
graceful duun shining with the glitter of fiery gold ; even 
so has our emperor fixed round all the cornice lights in* 
drde-wise, companions everywhere to those below. 

^' There is also on the silver columns [of the Iconostasis], 
above their capitals^ a narrow way of access for the lamp-- 
lighter, glittering with bright clastefs ; these one might 
compare to the mount^n-nourished pine, or cypress with 
fresh branches. From a point ever-widening circles spread 
down until the last is reached, even that whidi curves round 
the base ; instead of a root, bowls of diver are placed' 
beneath die trees, with their flaming flowers. And in the 
centre of this beauteous wood, the form of the divine cross, 
pierced with the prints of the nsuls, shines with light for 
mortal eyes. 

^* A thousand othera within the tempfe show their gleaming 
light, hanging doft by chsuns of many windings. Some are 
placed in the aisles, others in the centre or to east and west, or 
on the crowning walls, shedding the brightness of flame. Thus 
the night seems to flout the light of day, and be itself as 
rosy as the dawn. And whoever gazes on the lighted trees, 
with their crown of drdes, feels- his Heart warmed with ioy ; 
and looking on a boat ^ swathed with fire, or some single 
lamp, or the* symbol of the Divine Christ, all care vanishes 
from the mind. So with wayfarers through a doudless night, 
as they see thie stars rising from point to point ; one watches 
sweet Hesperus, another's attention is fixed on Taurus, and a 
third contemplates Bootes, or Orion and the cold Charles' 
Wain; the whole heaven, scattered with glittering stars, opens 
before them, while the night seems to smile on their way. 

^ hroKTpkf a small row-boat. 

E 2 

52 S. SOPHIA lines 485-503 

^^ Thus through the spaces of the great church come rays of 
light, expelling clouds of care, and filling the mind with joy. 
The sacred light cheers all: even the saUor guiding his bark 
on the waves, leaving behind him the unfriendly billows of 
the raging Pontus, and winding a sinuous course amidst 
creeks and rocks, with heart fearful at the dangers of his 
nightly wanderings — perchance he has left the ^gean and 
guides his ship against adverse currents in the Hellespont, 
awaiting with taut forestay the onslaught of a storm from 
Africa— does not guide his laden ve^el by the light of 
Cynosure, or the circling Bear, but by the divine light of 
the church itself. Yet not only does it guide the merchant 
at night, like the rays from the Pharos on the coast of Africa, 
but it also shows the way to the living God." 



Thb third rar^;^ the description of the Silentiary is 

on the cehttiTaScrsbf the church. Germanus, Patriarch 
of Constantinople from 715-740 a.d., and Simeon of 
Thessalonica both speak of this as the right position 
for ambones ; ^^ the most holy bema should be towards 
the east, with the ambo in front of it, if there is room." ^ 
The two flights of steps, by which the ambo — ^the name of 
which is derived from the Greek for ascencfing — ^was reached, 
were on the east and west sides. In the ambo the Gospel 
was read, and here was recited a prayer ^ at the conclusion of 
the liturgy, which seems to have been a compendium of those 
previously uttered in the sanctuary ; the priest left the bema, 
ascended the ambo on the east side, and prayed with his face 
towards the west. Important offices in coronations were also 
performed here. 

Paulus' description of the ambo opens with a preface of 
thirty iambic lines in praise of the emperor, who has added 
the **one thing needful to our all-glorious church." The 
importance of this work is made an excuse for interrupting 
the " usual pursuits of his hearers even for a third time. 
Twenty hexameter lines are devoted to an invocation to the 
apostles and saints, and then follows the description of the 

1 See Du Cange, S. Sophidy § 70. 

* Called &irw$ii»fimv(^ cv^i;, the <« back '' of the ambo. 



lines 50-75 

** Now in the central space of the wide temple, vet tending 
rather towards the east, rises a tower {purgos\ rair to look 
upon, set apart for the reading of the sacred books. Up- 
right it stands on steps, reached by two flights, one of which 
stretches towards the west, but the other towards the dawn. 
So are they opposite to one another, and both lead to a space 
formed like a circle. Now one stone curves round to form 
this circular space, though it is not altogether equal to a 
complete curve {tom^s)^ out it agrees with it except where 

the ed^e c^ the 
stone IS length- 
ened ; for toiff^irds 
east and west a 
flight of steps is 
drawn out like a 
neck, projecting 
from the drded 

"And up to the 

height of a man's 

girdle our eodlike 

king has formed, 

with the help of 

silver, beauteous 

walls curving like 

crescents. He has 

not bent silver 

right round the 

stone, but a silver 

plaque {pkx) is 

spread out in the centre, to adorn the drcling wall. Thus 

has the skilful workman spread out two sure crescents and 

opened on either side a flight of steps. 

" Nor does fear sdze those descending the sacred steps, be- 
cause the sides are unfenced ; for hedge walls of glittering 
marble have been reared there ; and they are high above the 
steps for the hand of a man to hold as he mounts, grasping 
them to ease his way ; so on each side they grow upwards in 
a rising line, and stop at length with the steps which are 

Fig. 7. — ^Plan of the Ambo both aboTe and bdow. 

lines 76-120 THE'AMBO $$ 

between them. Thus good use is made of the stone ; for 
they have Quarried savage hill, and steep promontory, to have 
a far-^tretcning safeguard to the long night. And the whole 
is cunningly wrought with skilful workmanship, and glitters 
with ever-changing brightness. In parts it seems that whirl- 
pools eddy oyer the surface, intertwining drdes winding 
under the wandering curves of other circles. In parts is seen 
a rosy bloom, mingled with wan paleness, or fair gleams of 
light, as from br^ht spearheads ; in other places shines a 
softer glory, like the radiance of boxwood, or the delightsome 
bees-wax, which mortal men ofttimes lav on the unsullied 
difls, and turn over beneath the rays ot the sun, while it 
changes to a silver white ; yet not completely altering its 
substance, it still shows veins of gold. Even so the deep- 
stained ivory of many a year's growth expands its gleaming 
flesh on the curved breast. At times it seems to have a pale 
green hue. Yet the crafbman has not left it pallid and un- 
adorned, for he has fixed it in fair and cunnmgly wrought 
designs on the stone. Thus over all in many a curve its 
beauty is displayed. In parts the broad surface is tinged 
with the choicest tint of the pale crocus, or appears almost 
without colour, like light creeping round the pointed horns 
of the new-born moon. 

^^ Now near a rocky hill stands the sacred dty — Hierapolis 
— ^which gives its name to a well-known marble ; and of this 
is made all the fair floor of the place where they read the 
divine wisdom of the holy books ; and it is fitted by the 
craftsmen's skill on eight cunningly wrought columns. Two 
of these are towards the north, two towards the southern 
wind, two towards the east, and two towards the home of 
evening. Thus is the floor ndsed up. And beneath there 
is as it were another space, where the priests continue their 
sacred song. The stone is a covering to those below, but 
above it is like a spreading plain, untouched by the feet of 
mortals. And the underside the mason (Jaotomos) has cut 
out and hollowed, so that, by the craftsmen's skill, it rises 
from the capitals, curving over like the hollow shell-back of 
the tortoise, or some oxhide shield hdd up over the helmet, 
when the warrior leaps in the mazes of the Pyrrhic dance. 

56 S. SOPHIA lines 121-167 

** Now the rugged surface {metopan) of the stone they have 
girdled everywhere with the silver metal ; and there the 
skilled workman, cutting, with the point of his iron, twining 
foliage and lovely flowers, has inlaid the beauteous leaves of 
ivy, with its clusters and budding shoots. 

^* But with all its steps and floor and the columns as well, the 
artificers have formed for it a fixed foundation, and ndsed a 
base (krepis)y the height of a man's foot, above the floor of 
the church ; and in order that they might widen the founda- 
tion of the space they have placed on either side^ roimd the 
belly (jgasUr) in the middle, half-drcles in stone, and they 
have surrounded the space with separate columns arranged in 
semidrcles. Thus the whole belly is widened by means of 
four rich columns on either side, to north, and to south ; and 
the cave space (specs) j like a house,, is surrounded on all sides 
by a fence of drcling stone. 

^^ Some of the fair columns that the masons have set up are 
from the Phrygian land, towards the Mygdonian heights, 
hewn with strong axes : and looking on these flowers of stone, 
one would say that white lilies mingled with rose cups, or the 
soft petals of the shortlived anemone. Here is abundance of 
red and a mere tbge of white, there thin sinews mix with the 
veins which dye the columns deep red, as with drops from the 
Laconian shell. 

"First then at the bottom they have placed the fairly 
wrought plinth (jkrepis) supporting all, made beautiful with 
twisting curves ; and above it they nave set stone bases, firmly 
fixed, cut from the rich quarries of the Bosporus. Quite 
white, they glitter, and in branclung; veins a deep blue line 
wanders in the shining flesh. And the bases on the eight 
sides the mason has adorned with moulded bronze rings fixed 
cirdewise round each base, as round a neck. And through 
the space of the whole church shines the glory of each column 
fixed on its polished base, like a white cloud wrought into 
patterns by the ruddy rays of the rising sun. 

" Thus are ranged in half-circles the company of four, and 
this half with the other four they have connected by a fair 
chiton of stone, even round the well-formed hollow {antron) ; 
for the three spaces between the four columns have been 

lines 168-212 THE AMBO 57 

dosed by the skilful mason with fencestones of marble from 
FCerapolis, firmly fixed on the plinth (krepis). And it is 
meet that this crown of stone on the fair floor of the sacred 
fane should be called of * the Holy City ' (^Hierapolis). In 
the boundary is placed a door, slightly curved, through which 
enters the priest, to the floor of the hollow cavern {antron). 

"Now you must know that the curve (spelunx\ with 
columns, and plinth {krepis)y and fence wall, is alike on either 
dde, towards Garamas on the south and towards Arimaspus 
[to the north]. But the doors the workmen have not fixed 
in like places, but one is westwards and the other eastwards — 
the western one inclines towards the north, but the southern 
gate is towards the east. Moreover the fence-walls do not 
stand the same height as the columns, but they rise above the 
beauteous pavement, as much as to hide a man in the hollow 
space {antron). But the eight columns with fair carved 
capitals come out above the fence wall, and stand round it on 
the base with equal spaces between them, even on the stone 
plmth. The capitals shine with gold, like high peaks which 
the golden-rayed sun stiikes with its arrows. 

" And all the capitals on high are crowned above in circled 
order by an embracing rim of beams {douraUa antux\ which 
binds the columns together in one curve, though at the same 
time each column is separate from its fellow. And fixed 
upon the rim you might see trees, with clusters as of fire, — 
the glitter of silver boughs shining afar. Nor does each 
sapling wander at will, but it is restrdned in a cone-like form 
or many edges, from a wide circle ever lessening to a point 
at the top. Now the fair girdle {zoster) that forms the rim 
is all crowned with golden ivy-leaves, and coloured with 
the sapphire dust. But towards the home of Zephyr, and 
also towards the fiery-winged Eurus, there are fixed upon the 
rim (antux) two crosses of silver, with a curved spike (Jiilos) 
above each, bending like a shepherd's crook, flashing a thou- 
sand lights to the eyes. 

" In this manner is the shining ambo made ; thus have they 
called it * the place ascended ' {ambatos)^ by holy paths, and 
here the people direct their eyes, as they gaze on die divine 

58 S. SOPHIA lines 213-255 

'* And it is to good purpose that they have placed the cut 
stones in steps, on whose white surface one mignt descry thin 
veins of deep red like the dye of the sea-shelL For the un- 
polished stones the mason has hewn into a long flight {rachis) 
of steps, a strong support for the feet of men, lest any one 
slipping from above and falling should descend all unsteady 
to the floor ; thus in order ana in continuous line one stone, 
as it rises above another, recedes from it, even as much as a 
man ascending plants one step in turn in front of another. 

^' And as an island rises amidst the swelling Ullows, bright 
with patterns of cornfields, and vineyards, and blossonung 
meadows, and wooded heights, while sailc»rs, as they steer by 
it, are gladdened, and the troubles and anxieties of the sea 
are b^uiled ; so in the middle space of the boimdless teniple 
rises upright the tower-like ambo of stone, with its marble 
pastures like meadows, cunningly wrought with the beauty of 
the craftsman's art Yet though it stands in the middle, it is 
not quite cut oflT, like an island girdled by the sea, but is 
rather like some wave-washed land, extended by a narrow 
isthmus through the gray billows into the nuddle of the sea, 
and were it not for uus binding ch^n, it would be cut off 
and seen as a true island ; but though it projects into the 
ocean, it is still joined to the mainland coast by the bthmus, 
as by a cable. 

^* Such is the ambo ; for a long path starts from the last 
step of its eastern flight, and stretdies out until it comes to 
the space by the twin silver doors, even striking with its 
lengthy plinth the fence wall of the sacred rites ; and the 
path is warded on both sides by walls. Now for these fence 
walls they have not placed lofty slabs, but they are as high 
up as the navel of a man standing by them ; and here the 
priest, as he holds the golden gospel, passes along, and the 
surging crowd strive to touch the saicred book with their 
lips and hands, while moving waves of people break around. 

^^ Thus is this path prolonged like an isthmus, wave-washed 
on either side, and it leads the priest as he descends from the 
distant ambo with its lofty cliflFs, to the shrine of the holy 
table. And the whole path on both sides is fenced with the 
fresh green stone of Thessaly ; and the abundant rich 

lines 256-299 THE AMBO 59 

meadows of the stones bring the delight of beauty to the 
eyes. Now at both ends of each slab from Thessaly stand 
posts of equal height, not like a cylinder in form : one 
skilled in figures would say that the posts were not equal- 
sidedy but have the shape of a lengthened cube. And the 
masons (Jaotoroi) have made the joints of the Molossian slabs, 
by wedging one stone into another ; it is from the Phrygian 
land that the stone-cutter (Jaotupos) has had these posts 
quarried. And resting the wandering glance there one might 
see snake-like coils twining oyer the fur marble, winding in 
beauteous paths ; there white and fiery red are set alongside 
of one another and a flesh colour between both, the lines 
bending in alternating coils, as they roll round in their 
courses. First on one side, then on another, are seen the 
forms of the moon and stars. 

*^ And on the uppermost rim of the fence wall they have 
fitted another long stretchit^ stone, quarried from the same 
foreland crag, so that the Thessalian slab is fixed below on 
the firm foundations of the plinth, and is bound above by 
another band of marble ; and the edges of the Thessalian 
slabs are joined together as in a ch^n by the square 
columns, wluch are set upright and firm on the founda- 

^* And as when one winds the gold twisted thread in and 
out over the many-coloured surrace of a Tyrian robe, and 
adds a fitting pattern round the bottom edges, or in the fair 
centre of the robe, or about the sleeve-holes for the arms 
while the fresh green web of the cloak shmes like a 
meadow in spring, — ^the glory of the golden warp adding 
beauty to beauty, and decking it as if with flowers ; even so 
the cunning workman has cast on the fresh green stones of 
the sacred rock the glitter of golden rays, giving a brighter 
beauty to them. 

" But at the eastern end of the passage, by the holy fence 
walls of the altar, they have cut oflF the isthmus, so as to form 
a speedier path for those who pass from side to side. 

^^ Such works as these has our emperor, bestowmg splendid 
gifts, built for God the King. For to the great bounties of 
his peaceful reign he has added this much-prdsed temple, so 


that with divine foresight he might prepare a gift for the 
Creator of the world, Christ, King of All. Be thou, O glory 
of the eternal Trinity, thrice favourable to this dty of Rome, 
to our citizens, our emperor, and our much-loved temple/' 

In following this description we see that it begins on 
the raised floor of the ambo which was roimded on two 
sides, the others being open to the steps at the east and west. 
The breast wall on each side was largely covered with applied 
silver wrought into patterns ; and the rest, together with 
the parapet slabs to the steps, were inlaid in ivory, probably 
carved like the contemporary bishop's throne at Ravenna. 
The body of the ambo inlsud thus with ivory and silver was 
upheld on eight columns, the underside pf the floor stone 
being hoUowoi into a flat dome like the fluted soflite of the 
still older ambo at S. Apollinare at Ravenna. On either ' 
side, around the ambo, was a semicircle of large columns of 
rosy-veined Synnada marble on white bases mth bronze 
annulets and gilt capitals ; between the columns breast- 
high slabs of Hierapolis marble inclosed a space. The 
circle of columns stood on a raised step, and above they were 
bound together by a carved beam, the pattern being gilt 
with the interspaces painted in ultramarine. On this to east 
and west stood silver crosses ; their upper limbs ^^ bent like 
shepherds' crooks" doubtless formed the XP monogram. 
Silver candelabra, cones of diminishing drdes, stood round 
about on the top of the beam. From the eastern steps a 
passage way ran back to the step of the iconostasis, 
indosed on both sides by marble slabs grooved into posts, 
bearing a top rjul. This closure of Verde antique slabs was 
inlaid in white and red patterns and gold mos^c. 

In this description two separate parts appear, the ambo 
proper reached by the narrow indosed way and ascended by 
steps ; and the space entered by two doors screened off about 
it by the drde of large colunms and dosure slabs, ** where 
the priests continue thdr sacred song." So in Constantine 
Porphyrogenitus' Book of the Ceremonies'^ we read of the 
** psaltae " placed in the ambo singing, " Christ is risen." 

1 Ed. Bonn, p. 74. Sec alao our page 79. 


We know little of the later history of the ambo. The 
Anonymous Author, who probably wrote not earlier than the 
twelfth centxiry, comparing the mythical splendour of an 
earlier ambo destroyed by a fall of the dome to another 
which he attributes to Justinian's nephew, Justin, says they 
made the latter of marble, with columns covered with silver, 
and with silver screens going round the solea« It had no 
dome. Immediately after he compares the pavement which 
he says was destroyed at the same time with one that now is. 
So that we may assume that he wrote of an ambo then 
existing, and that therefore in this instance he may be 
trusted.^ The work attributed to Justin by the Anonymous 
is really the restoration imder Justinian ; he seems to have 
confused the nephew of the architect who was then employed 
with the nephew of the emperor. Rohault De Fleury,^ who 
accepts this story, suggests that a canopied ambo which 
appears in the Menologium of Basil (976-1025) figures one 
in S. Sophia which may have replaced the former ambo 
after the fall of the dome in 975. Robert de Clari (1200) 
merely says, ** The place from which they read the Gospel is 
so rich and noble, that we do not know how to describe the 
making of it." ^ The ambo of that time was destroyed by 
the Crusaders (i 203).^ Clavijo, the Spanish ambassador, who 
saw S. Sophia two hundred years later, has left this descrip- 
tion of the covered ambo then existing. " On the floor in 
the centre of the area is a pulpit placed on four columns 
of Jasper; and the sides of it are overlaid with panels 
of jasper of many colours, and this pulpit is surmounted 
by a cover, which stands on eight very large jas{ier 
columns ; and here they preach and read the Gospel on 
feast days.'* 

Coronations. — ^We shall now quote two descriptions of the 
ceremonies associated with the ambo at coronations. These 
are of the age of the Palaeologi, and the first is especially 

^ See Nicetas also on our p. 75. 

* La Missi^ Art. " Ambon," vol. iii., p. 9. 

* Hopf, Chroniquis Grico-Romanes^ p. 96, 

* Sec our p. 75. 



interesting as describing the Megale Eisodof and the 

^^ And about the second hour of the same day the prince 
who is to be anointed is set upon a shield ; ^ the reigning 
emperor, who may be his father, and the patriarch^ take 
hold of the front part of the shield, which is also held by 
the officials of rank and the nobility. They then raise it, and 
show the new emperor to the assembled populace. After he 
has been greeted with acclamation, they attend him into the 
church, where the rest of the ceremony must be completed. 
Now a little ectifice of wood has previously been prepared for 
this very purpose, into which they lead the new emperor, and 
ut on him the purple and the diadem, which have been blest 
y the bishops. And round his head it is customary to put 
only a chaplet. After this the service of the Mass {mustagogia) 
proceeds. And near the erection just mentioned a set of 
movable steps, also of wood, are prepared, and these they 
cover with purple silk. And upon it are placed golden 
thrones, according to the number of the pnnoes, not like 
other thrones, but raised on four or five steps; here the 
princes take their seats. The princesses also ascend with 
them, and sit on the thrones, wearing their crowns, but she 
that is about to be crowned wears a chaplet. Now before 
the hynrn Trisagion is sung, the patriarch comes out of the 
bema and ascen<k the ambo, and with him are the rulers of 
the church, all wearing their sacred robes. He then dis- 
misses them, and summons the princes, and they immediately 
arise from their thrones and come to the ambo, wlule profound 
silence is kept bv the whole congr^tion. Then the patriarch 
goes through tne prayers appointed for the anointing, some 
silently by himself, otners out loud, praying for the blessing 
of God on him who is about to be anointed. After this the 
new emperor removes from his head whatever he is wearing, 
and then it is right for all, as many as are present, to stand 
with bared heads. Then the patriarch with the holy oil 
anoints the head of the emperor with the form of the cross, 
saying with a loud voice ^ Holy ' ; and as soon as they hear 
it those standing on the ambo pronounce it three times, and 

^ Canucuzcnus, Hist. lib. i., chap. 41, ed. Bonn, p. 196. 


after them all the people. After this the crown is brought 
by deacons from the bema where they keep it (now it is not 
above the Holy Table as some say)» and taken to the ambo. 
If any previously crowned emperor be there, he and the 
patriarch take the crown together, and place it on the head 
of the prince, the patriarch saying ^ Holy ' in a loud voice. 
Those in the ambo repeat it three times, and the people, as 
after the anointing. Then the patriarch repeats some more 
prayers, and the prince descends from the ambo, not on the 
ade by which he ascended, but on the side which is turned 
towards the solea. If he is unmarried he then ascends the 
step and reseats himself upon his throne, but if he has a 
wife then she also must be crowned She is then led, as she 
rises from the throne, by two kinswomen one on either side, 
or if she has no relatives, eunuchs lead her down ftom the 
steps, and stand with her before the solea. Then the 
emperor descends from the ambo, and takes the crown held 
ready by the kinswomen or eunuchs, and places it upon the 
head of his wife, and she kneels before her husband, swearing 
fealty to him. And the patriarch, standing by the solea, 
offers up a prayer for the emperor and empress, and all their 
people. Thus the emperor crowns his own wife. And then 
both ascend the steps^ and sit upon their thrones, and the 
rest of the mysteries are proceeded with. But at the sing- 
ing of the Trisagion^ or at the reading from the apostolic 
writings, or the Gospels, they stand up. 

^^ And on both sides <^ the nave, on wooden steps made for 
this purpose, are those called protopsaltae, and domestici, 
and others of ecclesiastical rank who know how to sing, 
and who are called because of this krakiai ; ^ all these sing 
anthems espedally made for the occasion. But when the 
part of the mysteries which is called The Great Entrance ^ is 
bq;inning, the chief of the deacons comes and summons the 
emperor, and he comes with them into the prothesis, where 

^ A shortened form of iceicpddicnu. 

* ^ fuyoXtf c{oroSo9» when the Bread and Wine are brought from the 
table of the prothesis and placed upon the H0I7 Table, while the Cherubic 
Hymn is sung in honour of ** the Ring of all, invisibly attended by the 
spears of the Angelic Hosts.'' See Dr. Freshfield's article in the Archae^- 
hgia^ vol. zliv.y p. 3B6 ; he translates a parallel account from Codinus. 


are set out the Holy Elements, and, standing outside the 
prothesis, a golden mantle is put upon him over the diadem 
and the purple ; and in the right hand he holds the cross, 
which he usually carries when he wears his crown, but in the 
left he carries the rod, which he who is called deputatus 
usually carries. With these in both hands the emperor 
leads the sacred entrance, and on both sides of him march 
the Varangi with their axes, and the sons of the nobility 
armed and unarmed, about a hundred in all, follow ; and 
immediately behind him come the deacons in order, and the 
priests, carrying the vessels for the service — and other 
most holy things. And after going round the nave, as is 
their wont, when they come into the solea, all the others 
stand outside, but the emperor alone enters the solea and 
finds the patriarch standing at the sacred screen, and after 
bowing to one another the patriarch goes inside, but the 
emperor remains ^rithout, and then the deacon who followed 
immediately after the emperor, holding in his right hand 
a censer, and in his left what is calloi the fnaphorion of 
the patriarch, approaches and censes the emperor. The 
emperor bows his head, while the deacon with a loud voice 
calls out, * May the Lord be mindftil of the power of thy 
kingdom in His universal kingdom, now and always and for 
ever and ever, Amen.' And in order the rest of the deacons and 
the priests approach and say the same. And when this is 
finished the emperor bows to the patriarch, takes off the 
mandya, which is taken away by the refendarius. The 
emperor again ascends the tribune and sits, down on the 
throne, but he stands during the creed, the Lord's Prayer, 
and the elevation of our Lord's body. And after the eleva- 
tion, if he is not prepared for the Communion he remans 
seated till the end of the service. But if he is prepared, 
the deacons again come and summon him. And with them 
he enters into the bema and, having been given a censer, he 
censes the Holy Table, looking first of all to the east, then 
north, west, and south, and having agsun censed towards the 
east, he censes the patriarch also. The patriarch bows to him 
and takes the censer, and censes the emperor in return. 
After this the emperor ren^oves the crown, and gives it into 


the hands of the deacons. Then the patriarch puts into his 
hand a portion of our Lord's body, and after that he drinks 
of the life-giving blood, not from a spoon like the rest of 
the people, out from the cup itself like the priests. Then 
the emperor replaces the crown, and comes out of the bema, 
and after the congregation has shared in the Communion, 
and he has been blessed by the patriarch, and the priests, 
and has kissed their right hands, they lead him to the part 
called catechumena to receive the acclamations of the people. 
When this is finished, he comes down again, and he and the 
empress mount on horseback, and ride back to the palace to 
paitake of a banquet." ^ 

Gxlinus Ciu'opalata ^ has also a description, almost in the 
same words, but with some additions. The future emperor is 
^^ led to the triclinium called Thomaites, which looks on to the 
Augusteum, where are standing the populace with the army. 
But before the emperor shows himself, what are callol 
epicombia are thrown to the people by one of the senators, 
whom the emperor has selected. These epicombia are made 
as follows. They cut pieces of cloth, and in each piece they 
bind up three gold and as many silver numismata and three 
obols, and then throw them to the people, and they scatter as 
many thousands of these as the emperor shall arrange. Now 
it is customary to throw these epicombia in the proaulion of 
the great church, that is in the part called Augusteum ;— he 
who scatters them standing above the steps of the Augusteum." 
Inside the chiu'ch a wooden tribunal had been prepared in the 
gynaeceum, and at the end of the ceremony ^^ the young 
emperor with his wife the empress, and the emperor, his 
fatner, and his mother, ascend. But the golden velothyra 
hide die tribunal, so that they shall not be seen. Then the 
psaltae sing ^Lift up,' and immediately the velothyra are 
raised, and the princes in the gynaeceum are greeted ^rith 
acclamations by the people." 

^ A Russian pilgrim describing the coronation of Manuel in the four- 
teenth century says, ^ The imperial procession advanced so slowly that 
it took three hours to walk from the royal door to the thrones." S^c, 
dip Orient Latin^ series gecg* vol. v., p. 143. 

' IXi Ojficiis Paiatii^ ehap. xvii., ed. Bonn, p. 87. 




Main Divisions. — Du Cange, in the commentary to his 
edition of the Silentiary*s Poem, was the first to make a 
serious attempt to elucidate the interior arrangements of S. 
Sophia. This appeared with the poem in the folio of 1670,^ 
but a revised edition was incorporated in his Hisforia 
Byzan/ina^ 1680.^ 

In the first his knowledge of the actual state of the 
church seems to have been limited to the description of 
Gyllius unassisted by any plan. Drawings of S. Sophia 
were desiderata at that time, and Grelot tells us how he was 
induced to attempt to make them by a knowledge that 
others who had been commis^oned by the King of France 
had failed. Before the publication or his revis^ edition of 
1680 Du Cange had obtained a plan. This appeared in 
the same year as Grelot's work, and divergences seem to 
show that die plans were, in great measure at least, independ- 
ent of one another. The main text of his commentary 
however remained the same, and the alterations, although 
crudal, were mostly made by the omission of a few lines 
here and there without any attention being specially called 
to the fact. 

This has been the cause of much confusion, as it has 
unfortunately happened that the first edition has been 

^ In NUephcri Bryennii, . . . Fault Bikntiarii C9mment. 
* HUt. Bjz, duflici C9mmentart9 illustrata. 


reproduced without remark in the series of Bjrzantine texts 
published at Bonn and in Migne*s Pafrologiae Cursus Ctm- 
pUtus. In this Du Cange placed the iconostasis ^^ under the 
great eastern arch whidi supports the dome/' and thus 
included the whole eastern hemicycle in the bema. He 
devoted the whole central sauare under the dome to the 
^ priests and singers,'' separatmg it from the western hemi- 
cycle by ^^ marble columns," which were obtained by a 
curious misreading of Gyllius' description of the verde 
antique columns in the western opening on the Jirst floor. 
In the centre between these ^^ marble colxunns " he placed 
the ^^ Beautiful " or <^ Rojral Gate," and the western henucyde 
outside this was alone allotted to the people. In the cor- 
rected edition of 1680 the bema is confined to the eastern 
extension, the eastern hemicycle became the solea, and the 
central area and western hemicycle are given to the people. 

There is actually very little diversity of opinion in regard 
to the main divisions of the church between Du Cange, 
Neale,^ and Salzenberg, but Rohault de Fleury has b^n 
misled into making an engraving of the iconostasis, stretch- 
ing across the whole hundred feet of the hemicycle. 

Bema. — ^A church, as Simeon of Thessalonica writes, is 
properly ^< divided into three parts, the pronaios, the naos, and 
the bema." The bema (see Plan, Fig. 5) is the r^sed part 
within the screen or iconostasis included by the apse. This 
was the place set apart for the priests, who are hence 
sometimes called **they of the bema."* Decrees were 
passed from time to time to enhance its sacred character ; 
as that no member of the Isuty should pass beyond the 
screen, except with, the consent of a bishop. Even the 
emperor was only allowed there during a few portions of 
the liturgy. 

The bema of S. Sophia was indifferently called the 
adjtay hierateforiy thusiasterion. The history of Michael 
Attaliotas also speaks of it as the ^^ second skene, that is, 
the Holy of Holies."* The apse proper is by Paulus 
mentioned apart from the space contained by the straight 

* Introduction to the History of the Eastern Chunk 

s Du Cange, f . Sofhia^ § 49. > Ed. Bonn, p. 2 $9. 


walls, and it is possible that this is the kuklios (cvdius) of 
Porphyroeenitus. From the poet we gather that the priests' 
stalls against the wall were plated with silver. The upper 
part of the curved wall is incrusted with precious marble of 
sombre golden tones, beneath which the surface has been 
disturbed and is now covered by plain gray slabs. When 
we recall the immense quantity of silver that Procopius 
says was used in the sanctuary, and remember that the 
iconostasis and the altar-ciborium were of silver and the 
Holy Table of gold, it seems likely that the plating of the 
silver stalls covered the whole of this narrow strip, which 
would not be more than six or eight feet above the top seat, 
the level of which we suppose is marked by the projection 
of the lower part of the irall. In the small oratory of the 
Saviour built by Basil in the palace ^^ the whole pavement 
was of mas^ve silver wrought by the hammer and enriched 
by niello, and the walls to the right and left were covered 
with great plates of silver damascened in gold and glistening 
with predous stones and pearls.'' ^ To wis space we should 
refer the four panels \nth images in the wall mentioned in 
the Novgorod Chronicle^ which we suppose were of embossed 
silver or enamel. The most eastward point of the apse was 
occupied by the patriarch's throne.^ A bishop's chair with 
a canopy preserved in the cathedral church of S. George at 
G>nstantinople, said to have belonged to S. Sophia, is in any 
case quite late. It is of wood, ornamented with inlaid work 
representing the two-headed eagle, which was not adopted 
earlier than the tenth centurv. 

In Fig. 8 we give an outlme of a miniature in the Meno- 
logium (Jan. i6) of the adoration of S. Peter's chains, which 
were kept in the chapel of S. Peter attached to the great 
church. We have here a bema fully represented with the 
altar, dborixmi, and apsidal stalls for the dergy. We can 
hardly suppose that these latter could have belonged to a 
small dependent chapel, and hence iht miniature in the 
symbolic way of these old drawings is probably intended as a 
view of the great ^)se. 

^ Cons. Porphyr. in Labarte, PaL ImpSria/y p. 9^1. 

' See our p. 75. ' See Anon. p. 138 below. 


Altar. — ^The central object of the bcma was the altar, 
which stood beneath the cylindrical vault, on the under side 
of wluch the two great watching angels are represented in 
the mos^c Faulus says, "On columns of gold is rused the 
all golden slab of the Holy Table ; it stantS too on a base 
of gold, and &om it gleams the brightness of precious 
stones." The doubtful Anonymous says that it was "sup- 
prated, on four columns, overlud with gold," and again that 

FlO. 8. — View of Bern* from the iitttBleputn. 

**it was set up on solid columns of gold, studded with 
precious stones;" and that beneath the altar was a **sea" 
{thalojsa) ornamented mth gold and precious stones.^ This 
seems to refer to the " base of gold ** beneath the columns. 

According to Labarte, the description by the Anonymous 
(see p. 138) shows that the altar itself was decorated mth 

1 The EKfMcp'tm, ed. 1647, p. 499, ipeaki of tikjng the gumcntt of 
those ibout to become conventuali ind placing them on or in the 
** little %ai" (iSaUsjiJitM) of the Holy Table. Here Goirm interpret* 
it u "the hollow receu of the H0I7 Table," which Beemi to have been 
beneath the table, and nsed for waibing the vessels, like the piscioa in 
the later Latin church. 


the bright diversity of enamel. This he seems to prove by 
passages in Suidas ^ and Cedrenus. The last-named writes : 
" It is formed of gold, of silver, of every kind of stone and 
metal and wood, and everything which earth, sea, or the 
whole universe cont^ns. Of all these he (Justinian) 
collected the most valuable, with some small amount of 
commoner ones. He then melted those that would melt, 
added those that were dry, and poured them into a mould 
till it was filled. He wrote upon it, *We (Justinian and 
Theodora) thy servants, O Christ, bring thee of thine own, 
prayinff that thou wilt graciously accept it, O Son and Word 
of God made flesh and crucified for us. Strengthen us in 
the true faith, increase and guard this state, which thou hast 
intrusted to us, through the mediation of Mary, the holy 
Virgin, the Mother of God.' " 

However doubtful these late Greek writers are as authori- 
ties for Justinian's time, enamel was used in later days in the 
most extravagant manner, and we cannot doubt that at the 
time when the Crusaders took the church the altar was of 
enamel.^ Robert de Clari,^ writing at tins time, says, ^^ the 
chief altar of the church (S. Sophia) is so rich that one 
cannot value it ; for the slab which forms the altar is of 
gold and of precious cut stones {esquartelies) and pearls 
Jmolucs) all thrown together." Nioetas is even clearer ; de- 
scribing the capture of Constantinople and the sack of the 
church, he says : ^^ The Holy Table, made of all kinds of 
precious materials, cemented together by fire, and formed 
mto a many-coloured harmony so a3 to be the wonder of all 
nations, was broken in pieces and cUstributed by the soldiers/'^ 

It is very probable that some of the enamels added to the 

^ ** S^icrpisr Of AXXifvww united with glass and fine stones ; such 
is the nHtterial of which the Holy Table of S. Sophia is made." Gicssary 
of Bmdds quoted by Labarte in Recherches sur la Peinture en Emails p. 89. 

' Porphyrogenitus describes the table in the chapel built by Basil the 
Macedonian as ** a mixture of all precious materials placed in order and 
bound together by fire into a many-coloured mass of surpassing beauty, 
which is the wonder of all nations." We ailso read of " Holy Tables 
of silver, having gold and precious stones and pearls poured over them, 
forming a compact union together." 

' Hopf, Cbroniqius GrSco- Romanes. 

* Nic. CAron, Hist^ ed. Bonn, p. 758. 


Pala d'Oro at Venice after the sack of Constantinople came 
from the sanctuary of S. Sophia, possibly from its altar. 
Sylvester Sguropulus ^ who accompanied John Palaeologus to 
Venice in 1438, describes the Pala d'Oro as *^ an icon which 
is formed out of many, and we heard that some of these 
were taken from the Church of S. Sophia." It may be only a 
coincidence that one of the panels of the Pala contains the 
figure of Solomon with the Greek inscription, ^^ Wisdom 
hath builded her house,'* that being the usual legend for 

The altar would have been covered, like the altars shown 
in the mossucs at Ravenna, and the illustrations of the 
Menohgiumy^ by a cloth reaching on all sides to the floor. 
These cloths bear very simple devices — ^in the centre a plwn 

cross, circle, or star, and at the four comers gammidae ^ ]] 

which in the code of symbolism probably expressed the four 
corners of that world, for which the d^ly sacrifice was 

Others however were more richly embroidered. In the 
Liber Pontificalis of Agnellus ' it is said that Maximian, the 
Archbishop of Ravenna in Justinian's time, ordered a most 
precious altar-cloth {endoihis) of byssus, on which was 
embroidered the whole history of the Saviour. " It is not 
possible to imagine the human figures, or the beasts and 
birds which are made on it." The figure of the archbishop 
was represented with the inscription, " Praise the Lord with 
me, for he hath raised me from the dust." The Continuator 
of Theophanes also speaks of an altar-cloth on which ^* the 
birth of the Lord was represented." * 

The general Greek name for altar-cloth was endute. Those 
at S. Sophia are thus spoken of by the Anonymous, and we 
read that Michael Palaeologus sent to the Pope ^^ an endute of 
the Great Church, of rose red, with gold and pearls worked 
on it."^ 

^ Fera Historia Unionisj Hague, 1660. 

' A MS. Greek service-book made for Basil II. (976-1025) now in the 
Vatican Library. A folio was printed from it at IJrbino in 1727. 
• Migne, S, L. vol. 106, p. 610. * Migne, S. L. vol. 106, p. 603. 

^ Pachymeres, di Mich. Pal. cd. Bonn, vol. ii., p. 385. 


Ciiorium. — ^The altar stood under a canopy of silver 
called a kihrion^ as is fully described by Paulus. Accord- 
ing to the Anonymous it was patterned with niello or 
damascening (see p. 138). Such dboria are ' frequently 
spoken of in the Lives of the Popes.^ Thus Gregory I. 
made for S. Peter*s a *^ dborium widi four columns of pure 
silver/' and Leo IIL ^^made for the ba^lica of S. Paul 
a db^um with large and beautiful columns of the purest 
silver/' The dborium of S. Demetrius at Salomca, a fifth- 
century work described in the Jcta Sanc/orumj was also of 
silver. It supported at the top ^^ a soHd sphere of silver^ 
with wonderml lily-leaves curved round it^ and a cross 
above." « 

An illustration ^ in an dghth-century Goopel preserved at 
Venice represents a dborium, like that at S. Sophia. We see 
four arches on four columns, and from the tiat top above 
rises an octagonal cone. At the four comers stand bowls, 
and in each bowl is a candle or a representation of one, as 
die Silentiary describes. Pope Leo IIL placed ^^ above the 
altar of S. reter four large cups of the purest diver, every 
one having in its centre a candle of silver-^t.'* ^ 

The dborium at S. Sophia described by Paulus may have 
lasted till 1 203 ; Robert de Clari, writing at this time, says : 
^^ Around the altar there are columns or silver, which carry 
a canopy {abiUule) over the altar, made like a tower {clokier)^ 
which is all of massive diver, and so rich that one cannot 
estimate its value.*' 

CrownSy ^c. — From the first a crown and dove of gold 
would have been suspended from the centre of the canopy ; 
such doves are spoken of as being in use in G>nstantinople 
during the G>undl of 536.^ Theophanes says : *^ On Easter 
Day )x>phia, the widow of Justin II., and C)nstantia, the wife 
of Maurice, gave the Emperor Maurice a crown of exceeding 
value. When the emperor saw it, he took it to S. Sophia, 
and hung it above the Holy Table by triple chains of gold and 

1 Da Cange, 8. SapMA, § 57. ' Texier, Arch. Bjz^ p. 134. 

' De Fleary» La Messi^ vol. ii. and plate cii. 

« Da Cange, § 58. 

^ Bingham, Jntiq. Cbrist. Churchy vol. iii., p. 123, note. 


predous stones/' ^ This, Nicephorus Callistus says, was pre- 
served there till the taking of the dty by the Latins.^ Accord- 
ing to Buzantios, the emperor Leo IV. and his wife Irene also 
suspended crowns here. Nicetas speaks of the ^^ crown of the 
great Constantbe, which hung above the Holy Table ; '' and 
agun of one ^^ John, sumamed Crassus, who rushed into S. 
Sophia and placed on his head a small crown, one of those 
which hang round the Holy Table ; "' ^ and it appears from 
the accoimt of the Russian pilgrim Anthony, given in the 
next chapter, that Just before the Crusade there were thirty 
crowns suspended m>m the dborium — a beautiful symbolism. 

The splendid hanging crowns at Monza and in the Cluny 
Museum show us that these votive crowns were broad cirdets 
of gold incrusted ^nth large uncut rubies and emeralds with 
borders of pearls, and strings of jewels, and other pendants 
hanging from the rim. A small enamelled crown for sus- 
pension above an altar which is amongst the Constantinople 
treasures at S. Mark's is inscribed AEON AECn(OTHC) ; this, 
according to Labarte, must be Leo VL, who died in 91 1.^ 

Altar-^eils. — ^Round the four ^des of the dborium were 
suspended the curtains described in such detail by Paulus. 
They were all the more wonderful at this time as bdng 
^Ik-woven and not embroidered.^ The gold thread however 
seems to have been ^^ laid '' on. By the later Greeks those 
curtains were named tetrabela. They were often of deep 
red embroidered with gold, and were usually hung on rods 
goine from capital to capital of the dborium, as some of 
the illustrations in the Menologium show, though others 
seem to have been suspended from the curves of the 

The Iconosiasis. — For a description of the screen in front 
of the bema, with its columns, beam, panels, and doors plated 
with silver, we refer to the Silentiary. A screen of this kind, 
from the sacred paintings with which it is adorned, is now 
called the iconostasis, but by the ByzaQ^ine writers it is 

^ Ed. Bonn, vol. i.,p. 433. * Migne, 8. G. Tom. 147, p. 414. 

' Ed. Bonn., pp. 450 and 697. 

^ Figured in Ongania's // Tes0r0 di San Marco* • 

* Bayet, VJrt Bjzantin. 


usually named herkoSy druphraktOj kinkUdaiy or kankelloL 
Such screens were generally of bronze or marble. The 
Church of S. John the Evangelist, built by Galla Pladdia at 
Ravenna, had a screen of silver. At the Church of the 
Apostles at Constantinople, built by Constantine, the icon- 
ostaas was gilded bronze. The screen of S. Peter's in Rome 
was formed by the twelve beautiful antique columns which 
figure in Raphael's tapestry, standing in two rows.^ Eusebius 
connects twelve columns which stood about the tomb in the 
Sepulchre church ^nth the number of the apostles, and it is 
possible, as De Fleury suggests, that in the six pairs of pillars 
forming the iconostasis at S. Sophia a reference may be seen 
to the dismissal of the apostles two by two. From the 
narrowness of the bema it seems certain that the coupling 
of the pillars was transversely to the screen as shown on oiu* 
plan, Fig. 5. Thus they easily supported the passage way, 
where stood a great genuned cross and a row of branched 
silver candelabra. This was the *^ narrow way for the lamp* 
lighter above the silver columns " described by the Silentiary. 

The decoration of the silver plating of the breastwork 
and the beam by figures of apostles, prophets, and angels, 
and with circles bearing crosses and monograms, may have 
been formed in repousse^ like a beautiful gilt panel with a 
figure of the Virgin and Greek inscription now at Kensington 
Museum, which formed a part or the decoration of the 
screen at Torcello, but we think it more probable that it 
was damascened ^th gold like the silver work in Basil's 

The iconostasis probably reached up to the base of the 
porphyry strip whidi forms the border of the marble plating 
of the bema ; if so it was about twenty feet high ; it had 
three doors — " The Holy Doors "-^that m the centre being 
the largest. 

The ^* gold and silver columns in the middle of the temple " 
seen by Benjamin of Tudela, 1173, must refer to the icono- 

When the Crusaders practically sacked the chiu'ch, the 
iconostasis, ciborium, and altar were broken up and distri- 

^ De Fleuryy La Messe. 


buted. Nicetas says, ^^ The furniture of surpas^ng beauty, 
the alver, wUch went roimd the screen of the bema, the 
ambo, the doors, and many ornaments, in which gold was 
used, were carried away.'* The Novgorod Chronicle ^ gives a 
fuller account of the eventful morning when the doors were 
broken through and S. Sophia was invaded. ^^ They broke 
down the podium of the priests, ornamented with silver, the 
twelve silver columns, the four panels in the wall, decorated 
with images, and the Holy Table. They also destroyed the 
screen walls of the altar placed between the columns, and 
twelve crosses which stood above the altar ; amongst these 
were crosses of metal, like trees, higher than a man. All 
these things were made of silver. 

" They carried ofF also the wonderful table, with the gems 
and a great pearl ; so great a crime did they commit in 
ignorance. Moreover they snatched away forty cups standing 
on the altar, and silver candelabra, whose number was so msX 
that it is not possible to enumerate them, as well as the silver 
vessels which the Greeks use, more especially on feast days. 

^^ They stole a Gospel, that was used for the services, and 
sacred crosses and single images and the covering which was 
above the altar, and forty censers made of pure gold : they laid 
hands on all gold and silver and on priceless vessels in the 
cupboards, v^ls, and other places, in such quantity that 
they cannot be numbered." 

Grelot says that before the Turks altered the church the 
iconostasis had figures of the Virgin and S. John Baptist 
between the central and side-doors and the Twelve Apostles 

Prothesis and Diakonikon.-^Two chapels that in Byzantine 
churches almost invariably occur right and left of the bema 
with which they communicate directly are usually called the 
prothesis and cUakonikon ; they were sacristies, used respec- 
tively for the preparation of the mass and as a treasury or 
vestry. Du Cuige in both editions placed them in the two 
exedras of the eastern hemicyde, and in this he is followed by 
Salzenberg. The impossibility of this arrangement is shown 
by Neale, who suggests that two chambers on either side of 

^ Hopf, ChrmiquiJ Greco- Rpmants, ^ Compare our p. 126. 


the bema which Du Gmge thought were only supplementary 
were the sacristies in question. The chapels at the east end 
of S. Sophia have now been built up, but the doors that led 
into them still exist. We are not however certain that these 
chapels were built with the church. Paulus does not mention 
them, and there do not appear to have been chapels in this 
position at S. Sergius. In regard to the use of tne prothesis 
and diakonikon, Dr. Freshfield ^ considers that the procession 
with the bread and wine called the Megale Eisodos^ described 
in our last chapter, only became a part of the ritual in the 
rrign of the successor or Jusrinian, to whose time the Cherubic 
Hymn sung during the ceremony is referred. The earlier 
liturgies, he says, contain no directions for this ceremony, but 
merely speak of the deacon as moving the elements from the 
prothesis table to the altar, and he concludes that the two 
^de-chapels found in so many churches belong to a time 
subsequent to Justin 11. Two narrow passages however, 
right and left of the bema, at S. Sophia, S. Sergius, S. Irene, 
and S. Vitale seem to show that they were intended for access 
to lateral portions used in connection with the bema, even if 
these parts were merely screened from the aisles, and a com- 
parison of many early churches in Syria and Asia Minor 
proves that such chapels were in frequent use if not essential 
long before Justinian built lus churoi.^ See our figures 3 1 
and 32, and compare Gtttaneo, page 60. 

The prothesis and diakonikon of S. Sophia are very in- 
frequently mentioned by those names. In the catalc^e of 
the Constantinopolitan patriarchs we read of ^^ relics being 
kept in the diaconicum. ' ^ The diakonikon is also named 
where GxUnus speaks of the emperor as ^^ hearing the prayers 
of S. Basil near the diakcxiikon,'' and the prothesb is men- 
tioned in the passage on p. 63. Certun divi^ons of the 
churdi at the east end are however frequently mentioned by 

^ Jrchoi^bgia^ vol. xzxiv. 

' Paulinui, describing the church at Nola, writes: ^^Cum duabui 
deztn Uevaque conchulis intra spatiosum sai ambitum apsis sinuata 
lazetnr, una earum immolanti hostias jubilationis antistiti patet, altera 
post sacerdotem capaci sina receput orantes." Migne, S,L^ vol. 61, 

P- 337- 
s Saicerusy Thesaurus EccUsiasticus vtrh. Di4C9uuum. 


Porphyrogenitus, the Anonymous, and the Riis^an fnlgrims. 
Thus we have the skeuophylakium (treasury of vessels) and 
other chapels referred to. The skeuophylakium of the 
Anonymous seems to be the same as the ^^ lesser sanctuary " 
of Anthony, by which stood the cross which gave the exact 
height of Christ. This lesser sanctuary, or skeuophylakium, 
is probably the diakonikon — ^^ the oratory in front of the 
metatorion'' — ^where the relics of the Passion were kept.^ 
Again we read : ^^ Then by the right-hand side of the bema, 
they enter the oratory where stands the silver crudfix .... 
after worshipjnng they ascend by the cochlea [spiral stair, we 
suppose at south-east angle where minaret now is] which is by 
the part called the Holy Well, to the eastern part of the right- 
hand catechimiena.'' Again, *< Then by the right-hand side 
of the bema, they enter the oratory where stands the silver 
crucifix." * 

The Holy Well and Metaiorion.—Tht Holy Well, so 
frequently mentioned in the Ceremonies^ seems to have been 
not merely an object but a division of the church. Labarte 
makes it a chamber external to the church on the south side, 
but the Anonymous shows that it was to the east, by speaking 
of ^^ that part of the temple in which was the Holy Well, the 
bema, and the ambo.'' The author of an account of ^* the 
miracle in the Holy Well of the Great Church *' speaks of a 
picture of Christ as being by the eastern gate, ^* where is the 
holy mouth of the well of Samaria." ^ 

The Russian pilgrims generally speak of the Samaritan 
well, from wlucb flowed water from the Jordan, as ^* in the 
sanctuary : " the Anonymous Russian says ** in the chapel 
to the right." At this time it was probably in one of the 
ea$tem diapels, which may have been identical with the pro- 
thesis or diakonikon. Some passages of the Ceremonies seem 
to imply that in the tenth century the Holy Well was 
mthout the building; thus we hear of the ^'embolos 
[portico] of the Holy Well : " and again, " from the Holy 
Well, they enter by the door leading to the church ; " * 
possibly it was moved later, but probably one of the eastern 

^ See p. 96. * Cer. pp. 636 and 565. * Du Cange, § 76^ 

^ Cer, p. 17. A Holy Well is frequently found in the Prothesis. 


attached chapels will fulfil the conditions. In our Fig. 5 we 
have followed Du Gmge*s ground-plan in the distribution of 
these eastern chapels. It is possible that the round north- 
east building was used as a great sacristy as Salzenberg sug- 
gests ; Grelot calls it so on his plan, and T. Smith says this 
was a tradition. The Anonymous definitely distinguishes the 
Skeuophylakium, the Holy Well, and the (Chapel of S. Peter. 

The Metatorion, frequently spoken of together with the 
Holy Well, Labarte and Paspates place on the south side, 
external to the church. We think it was probably the name 
of portions of the side-aisles screened off by curtains. 
This would agree with Unger,^ who thinks that the word 
means a ** quarter of the diurch ** {metaHo\ and that Du 
Guige was mistaken in deriving it from mutatarium. In the 
Ceremonies J — ^^ The princes go out of the right side of the 
bema and enter the metatorion." Again, the patriarch 
stands within the iconostasis ^^on the right-hand side of 
the bema, towards the metatCHion.** From the metatorion 
a small door led to the Holy Well. Again, **they leave 
the bema by the right-hand side through the small holy 
door (in iconostasis) and proceed to the porphyry columns 
(of exedra), and by the staircase of the metatorion they 
enter the catechumena.'' ^ Again, ^^ the emperor takes off 
his crown in the metatorion within the Beautiful Gate,*' and 
^^ within the veil, hanging in the metatorion at the back of 
the narthex door.'* Metatoria in the catechumena of S. 
Sophia and of S. Sergius are also referred to.^ 

SoUa. — ^The later writers often mention the solea or 
S. Sophia. Thus Cantacuzenus speaks of the emperor 
passing through the solea up to the ^* Holy Doors.*' ^ It 
was immediately outside the iconostasis, and must have 
closely agreed with the choir of the »ngers in a Western 
church. Paulus does not use the word, but he describes the 
singers as occupying the space in front of the Holy Doors, 
and embraced by the exedras. The ambo, with its long 

^ QuelUnfur Byzantischer Kunstgesehichte. 

■ Cer. pp. 17 and 167. • Cer, pp. 157 and 160. 

^ See account of Coronation in previous chapter and of Adoration 
of Cross below, . . >.* 


passage of approach from the step of the Holy Doors, 
divided this space in two, so it is clear that the singers stood 
on either side of the ambo. The portion round about the 
ambo screened by the circle of columns was reserved for 
the leaders of the choir, the Protopsaltae.^ We cannot infer 
from the Silentiary that there was any other screen to the 
Solea, and no stalls for the angers are mentioned. 

It is pos^ble that in the tenth century, when the Book of 
t/ii Ceremonies was written, the ambo had been modified at 
least in regard to the approach from the bema, and that a 
considerable space was mterposed between it and the Holy 
Doors, in front of which there was at this time a porphyry 
omphalion stone (see our page 96). Paspates^ says this is 
still qmte intact, somewhat oval in shape, seven feet across, 
and adorned with a mossuc of marbles. It seems probable 
from the Anonymous that in these later days the solea was 
inclosed by a screen which he says was of silver.' 

Paulus describes a part on the south side as being inclosed 
for the emperor, and in Porphyrogenitus we read that the 
emperor had his seat ^^ near the Holy Doors on the right- 
hand side.*' It is probable that opposite the emperor's 
throne there was another bishop's chair, for that in the bema 
might only be occupied by the bishop in his own diocese. 
Grelot indeed reports that the emperor's and bishop'^ 
thrones were opposite one another. 

Nave. — We now come to the central divi^on of the 
church, the naos or nave, the square space beneath the dome 
contained between the four main piers : its centre was called 
omphalos^ mesomphaloSy or mesonaos. 

The pavement, according to the poet Paul, was covered 
with white Proconnesian marble and darker Bosporus stone. 
In the opening lines of the description before given he seems 
to compare the veined marble to flowing streams, or foam- 
flecked sea, and the ambo is likened to an island rising from the 
sea. According to Glycas and Codinus the first pavement was 

^ On Mount Athos ; **the Kanonarches, or master of the choir, 
prompts the cantors, who sing without books." A. Riley's M^unt Athos, 
« ^he Gnat Palace^ p. 96. 
> Compare S. Qermanus ; La Messe^ iii., P* 91* 


of various hues like the ocean. The Anonymous, in com- 
paring a pavement which he says was laid down afterwards 
with this supposed earlier one, says that *^ messengers were 
sent to Proconnesus, and marble of a green colour was 
worked there, as is seen now like rivers flowing into the 
sea.'' Codinus says, ** four rivers of leek-green marble were 
like the four streams which flow from Paradise to the sea.'* As 
is Sicn now certainly seems to bring something definite before 
our eyes, and so far as the pavement can be seen through 
the narrow chinks of the matting there is much to confirm 
this part of the Anonymous. Grelot tells us that the 
pavement is laid in compartments. It is of whiti^ gray 
Proconnesian marble, laid in slabs about 4 x lo feet, with 
here and there strips of verde antique about 2 feet wide, 
which suggest the quartering of the tiooc by a great cross. 
Moreover the square of rich Alexandrine work still existing, 
and figured by Salzenberg, lies on a diagonal, and woiild thus 
exacdy occupy one of four square spaces left in the angles 
(see Fig. 5). Now in the palace the floor of the bed- 
chamber of Ba^ had four rivers or streams of Thessalian- 
green marble which seemed to flow away from the centre, 
and the quarters were filled with mosaics of laige eagles.^ 
It may also be noticed that four rivers are depicted as 
flowing away from the cross on the central bronze door of 
narthex. Many parallel examples of pavements, still exist- 
ing, confirm the Anonymous in this respect. The mosaic 
floors of Italy furnish many instances where the four rivers 
of Eden are represented in the several angles as human 
forms pouring from urns, waters which are inscribed with 
the names Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates, and Pison. The 
de^gn of the pavement of the Baptistery at Florence has 
been much disturbed, but it seems to have represented flow- 
ing streams, which led from the font in the middle to the 
doors like four paths. It has been pointed out that the 
carpet of Chosroes, which is described as having represented 
a garden with flowing streams, was a traditional pattern of 
which an example showing four streams quartering the field 

^ The9pL Contin^ ed. Bonn, p. 333. 


is in the possession of Mr. CoMn.^ We understand that a 
amilar c^pet is now in New York. 

We give here a representation of a square of pavement at 
the centre of the Western Gynaeceum ; it is of Proconnesian 
slabs with border, and a disc of verde antico. 

Font. — ^A fine marble font formerly in the precincts of 
the Mosque Zdnab Sultana at the west of S. aophia, and 
now in the Imperial Museum, is the one referred to by 

FlO. 9.— Muble pBTcment at centre of West GtiWerj. 

Paspates as being probably the font of S. John Baptist (the 
Baptistery). He writes that there were only two remwiing 
in Constantinople, the other "being a smaJler font in the 
predncts of the Mosque Kotza Mustapha Pasha.^ The font 
in the museum which we illustrate is 8 feet 2^ inches long, 
6 feet li- inches wide, and 4 feet 6 inches high, wrought out 
of one nne block of Proconnesian marble. The outside is 
carefully finished, which shows that it stood above the floor. 
The inside is formed into steps, and about the rim are 
' Mr. Conw>7 in Jri jfaumal, 1891. ' Greaf Fststi, pp. lao, 129. 

several roughly sunk crosses, which we suM;est were filled 
by inlaid votive crosses of metal. Srailar lonts are shown 
in the mosaics at S. Mark's and other places. Texier found 
one in the marble quarries of Synnada with steps inside, and 

Font from ContUuitinople. 

Others are found in Palestine, one of which, illustrated in 
the Memoirs of the Exploraticm Fund,^ closely resembles 
this at Constantinople, which we may therefore look on as a 
typical Byzantine font, 

^ Vol. iii^ p. 311. 


Consecration or other Crosses, — On the great verde antico 
columns of the north side of the nave, about six feet above 
the floor^ appear sunk crosses about six inches high ; on the 
south side shallow sunk panels occupy similar positions, 
formed we may suppose by the Turks for the purpose of 
destroying the crosses. Similar sunk crosses occur on some 
of the marble columns in the gallery at S. Sergius and at 
Bethlehem ; at Sinai the nave columns bear inlaid bronze 
crosses. From the character of those at S. Sophia we should 
suppose that they were also formerly filled by inlaid metal ; 
their ^milarity in size and the regularity with which they 
are placed seem to show that they are of the nature of 
consecration crosses rather than being merely votive, or rather 
that tliey were made by the builders, just as a farmer crosses 
his bags of wheat. In most of the dsterns of Constantinople 
one column at least bears a large fairly wrought cross. 

Miraculous Marbles and Mosaics. — Clavijo describes a 
large white slab in the right of the gallery naturally figuring 
" the Virgin with Christ in her most holy arms : ' beneath 
this was an altar in a little chapel where they said mass. 
These marbles, in which accidental resemblances to figures 
might be traced, were evidently much valued. Felix Fabri 
describes a slab at the Holy Sepulchre in which S. Jerome 
and his Hon appeared. ^^ This picture was not produced by 
art, but by simple polishing alone.'* 

The column of S. Gregory Thaumaturgus, mentioned by 
Anthony of Novgorod as by the entrance and " covered with 
bronze plates,** may possibly be the celebrated "sweating 
column/ which is the first square pillar in the north aisle. 
At about five feet from the floor it is cased with bronze, 
in which a hole is left over the cavities in the pillar which 
are supposed to exude the dampness. The mdents are 
smooth, and look like natural cavities discovered in the marble 
when it was wrought. Canon Curtis, who was kind enough 
to escunine the pillar for us, says it was perfectly dry, and the 
attendants assured him that water never oozed out of the 
cavities, although " a few drops of water might be easily kept 
in each of them.** Sweating columns are well known in the 
legends of the middle ages. Benjamin of Tudela speaks of 

G 2 


two in Rome which sw^ted on the anniversary of the fall of 
Jerusalem, and Mandeville mentions four pillars in the Holy. 
Sepulchre ^^ that always drop water, and some men say that 
they weep for our Lord's death," Stephen of Novgorod 
speaks of a mossdc of Christ in S. Sophia from which holy 
water flowed from the wounds of the feet. 

Water Vessels. — ^At the west end of the church in the 
right and left exedras stand two large white Proconne^an 
marble urns about seven feet high, of beautiful gourd-like 
forms. They rise from the centre of polygonal basins, and 
water is drawn from them through bronze taps. It has 
been said that they were brought from Pergamus or 
Marmora by Sultan Murad III.^ The carving of the turban- 
like tops is certainly Turkish, but the vessels seem to be of 
Byzantine form, and we are disposed to agree with Grelot, 
who saw them in their present position before 1680. He 
says they were kept fidl of water ** to cool the Moham- 
medans overheated by their devout gesticulations.'' "If 
they are not very ancient, they stand in the place of others, 
which contained holy water for the Christians who entered 
the church." He assodates with these the palindrome in- 
scription given by Gruter (see our page 191)9 which he says 
was written on these, or similar, vessels in gold letters.^ 

Now a beautiful cantharus in the Church of S. Peter 
and S. Andrew, on the island of Murano,^ which is almost 
identical with those of S. Sophia, is stated to have i>een 
brought back thence with the Venetian booty, and bears a 
Byzantine inscription : — 



("Draw the water with gladness, for the voice of the 

^ Fossati : also Paspates' Byzantituu Mektat\ p. 343. 

' Relation d*uM Voyage di Ctnstmitinople^ p. i6o. This idea he may 
have obtained from Rosweyd's note to Paulinus (1569), saying fountains in 
front of churches were succeeded by lustral vases placed at the vestibule 
of the temple. ^ The rim of such a one seems to be figured in Gruter, 
p. 1046, with an inscription which was selected from the Anthology, 
as is shown by Rigaltius. This line was [also] written on the sepulchre 
of St. Diomede." 

* Paciaurdi 17 $8, Di sacris Balneis^ tab. vi. 


Lord is upon the waters") ; together with a monogram 
which reads NIKOMEAOY. Beneath the monogram appears 
a stopping where evidently a tap "wzs fixed, in exactly the 
position of those to the urns in S. Sophia. The first half 
of the latter inscription is on a small vessel of lead found 
at Turns, which, from the character of the decoration, cannot 
be later than the fourth or fifth century. The first mention 
of the vessels in S. Sophia whidi we have been able to find 
is by an English traveller, Fynes Moryson (1595), who 
says, ^ I did see two nuts of marble or huge bigness and 
great beauty." 

We give in Fig. 11 the vessel in the south exedra at 
S. Sophia, together ^th that of Murano, and for further 
comparison some beautiful vessels from a relief of Justinian's 
time on the ivory throne at Ravenna. We have omitted 
the Turkish top of the former. Canon Curtis, who has 
specially examined them, writes to us that between the top 
and body of each vessel is a copper band which conceals the 
joint, if there is a joint. 

Images and Tombs. — ^Very few fragments of Christian 
sculpture remain in Constantinople. The Silentiary does 
not mention any sculpture at S. Sophia. Probably the 
feeling which was mature in Leo the Isaurian was always 
latent ; Oriental Christians sharing in the dislike with 
which Jew and Moslem regarded statues. Canon Curtis 
writes : " On the northern side of the sweating column I 
used to see parts of a bas-relief representing, as I thought, 
a procession, but it was almost concealed by the metal 
plates, and now it is entirely hidden." The wealth of the 
church in icons at a late period may be gathered from 
inddental references. Not until a late time do we hear 
of any tombs in the church. S. Chrysostom and most of 
the other patriarchs were buried in the Church of the 
Holy Apostles. 

Pachymeres mentions "the stele of the three Germani 
(Patriarchs of Constantinople) near the porphyry columns 
on the west." Nicephorus Gregoras^ also writes that the 

^ Ed: Bonn, vol. i., p. 262. 



Fig. II. — Water Vessels from S. Sophia and Marana 

remains of the patriarch Arsenius were buried in the great 
Church of S. Sophia. 

Hangings. — ^The descriptions on several occa^ons mention 
veils and hangings by the names of vela and velothyra. 
With mosaics and miniatures to help us it is pos^ble to 
judge of the lavish way in which these hangings were used. 

The mosaics at Ravenna show veils hanging at the door of 
the church through which Theodora is about to enter, and 
the large elevation of the Palace of Theodoric, likewise in 
mosaic, shows hangings in all the arches of the portico. 
Such textiles suspended at entrance doorways are often 
mentioned by contemporary authors.^ At S. Sophia the 
doors entering the narthex, and those between it and 
the church, all have bronze hooks, to which such ^* door 
veils '' were suspended ; and embroidered Turkish hang- 
ings, which roll up from the bottom by means of cords 
and pulleys, are still hung to them. In the Byzan- 
tine mosaics the hangings are often shown raised by being 
gathered into a loose knot, or by being drawn to the sides 
and passed once round the pillars between which they hang. 

^ E. Muntz, Tapisserie. 


Fig. 13, — Venelt of Sixth Centoiy : from Ivoi; Throne, Rftveniuu 

The account of the coronation ceremony describes how the 
royal persons were seated in the gynaeceum, screened by 
** golden velothyra," so that they should not be seen until 
the psaltae sang the "Lift up," when immediately the 
velothyra were raised. Of these Hangings in the interior we 
have a ^cture in the account given m the continuation of 
Theophanes of an ambassador, Iber Curopalates, who visited 
Constantinople in 923, and " was taken to the church of 
S. Sophia, that he should inspect its beauty and size and 
predous ornaments. Now the walls were all draped with 
cloth of gold before they led him in, and he, struck with 
the great size of tHe cHurch and its wealth of adornment, 
exclaimed, * Truly this is the house of God,' and returned 
home." ' The Ceremonies mention gold hangings in Catechu- 
mena above Royal Door,* Nicetas tells us how the Crusaders 
"spared neither the house of God nor His ministers, but 
stripped the gteat church of all its fine ornaments and hang- 
ings, made of tHe richest brocades of inestimable value." 

We have no doubt that 5. Sophia was frequently adorned 
inside by the arcades of both tiers having hangings suspended 

1 Ed. Bonn, p. 401 and p. S94. * Ctr. I., p. 591. 


from the iron bars, which cross all these arches at their 
springing, exactly like those shown in the mos^c of Theo- 
doric's palace. Indeed Ignatius of Smolensk (circ. 139 5)* 
who was present at the coronation of Manuel, says that the 
women in the galleries remained behind curtains of silk so 
that none might see their faces.^ 

These hangings seem either to have had simple figures 
such as squares with large **gammidae" at the corners 
worked on them, probably in gold, or they were patterned 
over with figures, animals, and flowers, woven in the stuiF 
like the elaborate veils of the altar described by the Silentiary. 
The linen vestments found at Panopolis in Egypt show us 
that the "gammidae" originated in embroidered shoulder 
straps, with seal-like ends applied on either side of the neck 
opening. Fig. 1 3 shows two of the door veils represented 
at Ravenna ; that on the right is from the mosaic in S. 
ApoUinare Nuovo showing the palace. The gammidae are 
here exactly of the form found on the early G>ptic linen 
vestments, and it cannot be doubted that they were " applied " 
ift*a similar way. The pattern on the left is the door-hang- 
ing from the mosaic of S. 'Vltale ; the plain squares are of 
gold. The designs on the robes in this mosdc are interest- 
ing. Justinian's chlamys is covered with birds in circles, the 
border of Theodora's robe displays the three Magi making 
their offerings ; one of her attendants has a robe powdered 
with swimming ducks and a mantle with four petalled red 
roses on a gold ground, and another robe has five <j>ointed 
leaves scattered over its field. Many examples of the' figured 
silks are preserved in museums. There is at South Ken- 
sington Museiun a piece of pictured silk of this kind, 
probably of Justinian's time, which is covered with drcles, 
in each of which is figured a man and a lion. More 
than a century before the time of Justinian, Asterius, 
Bishop of Amasius, had made these elaborately figured 
stufifs a subject of satire : " When men so draped appear 
in the streets the passers-by regard them like painted walls. 
Their clothes are pictures which little children trace out 
with their fingers. There are lions, panthers, and bears, 

^ Soc, Orient, Latin^ siries GhgrapMque^ vol. v. 1889, p. 143, 


FlO. t3.~I>(KnVuU of the Sixlh Century 

also rocks, woods, and hunters. The most devout carry 
Christ, His disdptes, and His miracles. Here we may see the 
marriage in Galilee and the pots of wine ; there is the para- 
lytic earring his bed, the penitent woman at the feet of 
Jesus, or Lazarus come ag^n to life." ^ 

Later the patterns became more heraldic and larger in 
scale, figuring for the most part great displayed e^les, and 
griffons, or lions affronted. A piece of a textile of this land 
in the museum at Diisseldorf, of which there is a fiill-size 
copy at South Kensington, bears golden lions about two feet 
Ax inches long, and the names of Constantine VIII. and 
Basil on a pallid purple ground. Frauberger' compares 
this with another agned example of the same age and 
anular de^gn preservol at Siegburg, and a third at Autun, 
" all of which were intended for church hangings." The same 

^ Sec E. Muntz, Tafitierie, and M. F. Michel, Ktehtrthti sur . . . . 
del ittfffs it SfU. ■ 
' Jahriuei dti Virtim von ahtrtbumsfriundenin Rhrinlandt, 1891, p. 114. 


writer says that after Justinian's introduction of silk weaving 
in 552 and the loss of Bosra with its purple-dye vats to 
Chosroes, an imperial textile industry was established by the 
Golden Horn, which existed until the fourteenth century. 
Here these hangings were probably produced. 

Carpets. — Portions of the floor of S. Sophia were almost 
certainly strewn with carpets. Porphyrogenitus relates of 
the New Church of Basil that ** woollen carpets {nakopetat) 
called prayer carpets, of wonderful size and beauty, and 
resembling the bright plumage of peacocks, were laid one 
over another, completely covering the mosaic pavement of 
valuable stones.'* The carpets and prayer-rues of the 
mosques thus had their direct parallels, if not tneir proto- 
types, in the Byzantine churches. 

Synods. — ^The patriarchal registers, dating from the four- 
teenth century, speak of synods sitting ^* m the right-hand 
catechumena " ; this probably refers to the south gallery, 
where the vault has displayed in mosaic the descent of the 
Holy Ghost on the Apostles. 

Across this gallery there is at present a screen, which 
possibly, as Paspates suggests, shut oS the part used by the 
Synods. (See dotted line on Fig. 6.) The screen is made 
up of two marble slabs, each sculptured into the form of 
panelled double doors, with architraves and carved panels. 
Above the opening left between these is a coloured marble 
slab. At the top is a carved wood beam, which, being exactly 
like the permanent vault ties, is evidently of Justinian's age ; 
but the whole is certunly not an original assemblage of 
the parts. Each slab, which imitates a psdr of wood doors, 
has a representation of a bronze ring handle and a lock-plate 
on one half, and a hasp on the other, all exactly copied in 
sculptured marble. We believe that these imitation doors 
are earlier than the church ; the idea was common in late 
classic times. De Vogiie and Dr. Merrill^ found several 
tomb doors, similarly panelled, studded with imitation nails, 
and having elaborate knockers, all carved in stone. An 
example in marble now in the museum at Leeds closely 
resembles the S. Sophia slabs. 

^ Across the Jordan, 


Clergy and Ritual. — In the time of Justinian the total 
number of clergy was 525, but at the time of Heraclius this 
had been increased to 600;^ They were thus divided: — 

Presbyters ... 80 Readers . . . 160 

Deacons . . . « 150 Singers ... 25 

Deaconesses. . . 40 Doorkeepers . 75 

Subdeacons ... 70 

Total . 600 

The subdeacons, according to the forty-third canon of the 
Coundl of Laodicea, stood by the doors« Porphyrogenitus ^ 
speaks of the emperor ^^ piassing through the narthex of the 
gynaeceum, where the deaconesses have their usual place.** 
The same author also mentions ' ^^ hypurgi of the narthex, 
readers for alternate weeks, ostiarii of the Holy Well, a 
domesticus of the subdeacons, and deputati of S. Sophia/' 
A series of seals of the officers of S. Sophia is eiven by 
Schlumberger; ^ the seals are those of the kierikos, diakonos, 
manglabites, ekdikos, deuteroboetes, protospatharios, and the 
chartophulax. An anonymous author ^ gives a list of the 
officers of the ** holy and great '' church which is too long 
to be given in full, but we may note some of the duties 

The Oeconomus held ^^ one of the flabella, and stood at 
the right hand of the altar, when the patriarch was officiat- 
ing;" while ^*the sacellarius, holding a napkin, stood on 
the left." The skeuophylax stood in front of the skeuophy- 
lakium, so as to be ready to hand any vessel that might be 
wanted. The chartophulax stood near the *^holy doors," 
and pronounced the words of the service, ^* Approach, ye 
priests." The castensius holds the censer, and draws the 
curtain at the Trisagion. The refendarius and deputati 
carried the orders of the patriarch to the princes and nobles, 

1 See Paspates and Salz. * Ed. Bonn, vol. i., p. i8a. ' Vol. i., p. 801. 

^ SigUkgraphii i^ P Empire Byzantin. The seal of the church itself 
represents Justinian and the Virgin or Theodora supporting the building. 
Cf. Lenormant, Revue Numumatique^ 1864, p. 268, pi. xii. 

^ ExpHcatio OfficicruM sanctae ac magnae Ecclesiaey Auctere incerto a 
Bemarde MeJme editOy 1655. A Tupikon or Ritual Book of S. Sophia 
has been recently found at Patmos : Byz. Zeit^ 1893. 


and summoned them to his presence. When the patriarch 
was officiating, the protopapas took precedence of all the 
other priests, and even gave the communion to the patriarch. 
The protopsaltes " stood in the middle of the church between 
the right and left choirs,'' and led the singing. On one 
occasion the number of priests was so great "that the 
church of S. Sophia, though it is the greatest of all on the 
earth, seemed then too small." ^ 

Up to the eleventh century, services were only performed 
in S. Sophia on Sundays and Saints' days. In the middle of 
the eleventh century, Monomachus arranged that the service 
should be every day, and for this extra salaries were given.^ 

Some idea of the ritual of the services may be gathered 
from the offices in the Euchologiumj edited by Goar, the 
Cherubic and other hymns, tc^ether with the Ceremonies 
of Porphyrogenitus. An account given by Anthony of 
Novgorod is quoted in the next chapter. Bertrandon Broc- 
quiere writes : " I was curious to witness the manner of the 
Greeks performing divine service, and went to S. Sophia 
on a day when the patriarch officiated. The emperor was 
present accompanied by his wife, his mother, and his brother, 
the despot of the Morea. A Mystery was represented, the 
subject of which was the three youths whom Nebudiad- 
nezzar had ordered to be thrown into the fiery furnace." 

Having in our last chapter quoted the description of the 
procession and celebration of the Mass, we now give the 
accounts of the Adoration of the Cross given by Arculf ^ 
in the seventh century, and by Porphyrogenitus in the 
tenth; together with the directions for the emperor's 
procession to the great church. 

The Adoration of the Cross. — " In the northern part of the 
interior of the house (S. Sophia) is shown a very large and 
beautiful aumbry, where is kept a wooden chest, in which is 
shut up that wooden cross of salvation on which our Saviour 
hung for the salvation of the world. This notable chest, as 
the sainted Arculf relates, is rsdsed with its treasure of such 
preciousness upon a golden altar, on three consecutive days 

^ Cantacuzenus^ Bonn, ii., p. i J. * Cedrenus^ vol ii., p. 609. 

» Pal. Pil. Text. Soc. 


after the lapse of a year. This altar also is in the same 
round churdi, being two cubits long, and one broad On 
three consecutive days only throughout the year is the Lord's 
cross raised and placed on the altar, that is on the day of the 
supper of the Lord, when the emperor and the armies enter 
the church, and, approaching the altar, after that sacred chest 
has been opened, kiss the Cross of Salvation. First of all 
the emperor of the world kisses it with bent face, then going 
up one after another in the order of rank or age all kiss the 
cross with honour. Then on the next day, that is on the 
sixth day of the week before Easter, the queen, the matrons, 
and all the women of the people approadi it in the above- 
mentioned order, and all kiss it with reverence. On the 
third day, that is on the Paschal Sabbath, the bishop, and 
all the clergy after him, approach in order with fear and 
trembling and all honour, kissing the Cross of Victory which 
is placed in its chest. When these sacred and joyful Idssings 
of the sacred 0*068 are finished, that venerable chest is closed, 
and with its honoiu^ treasure it is borne back to its aumbry. 
But this should also be carefully noted, that there are not two 
but three short pieces of wood in the cross, that is the cross 
beam and the long one which is cut and divided into two 
equal parts ; while from these threefold venerated beams 
when the chest is opened, there arises an odour of a wonder- 
ful fragrance,^ as if all sorts of flowers had been collected in 
it, wonderfully full of sweetness, satiating and gladdening all 
in the open space before the inner walls of the chiu'ch, who 
stand still as they enter at that moment ; for from the knots 
of those threefold beams a sweet-smelling liquid cUstils, like 
pressed-out oil, which causes all men of whatever race, who 
have assembled and entered the church, to perceive the above- 
mentioned fragrance of so great sweetness. This liquid is 
such that if even a little drop of it be Isud on the sick, they 
eafflly recover their health, whatever be the trouble or disease 
they have been afflicted with.** 
The passage from the Book of the Ceremonies ^ describing 

^ In the CeremmeSj book ii., vire read that the three crosses kept in the 
pakce were anointed by the protopapas with balsam, before being shown. 
Ed. Bonn, p. 549. ' Ed. Bonn, p. 125. 


the Exdtation of the cross on September 14th begins with 
the emperor ^^ passing through the palace Manaura, and the 
upper corridors, ascending by the wooden staircase, and enter- 
ing the catechumena^ of the great church*" After he has 
reached the catechumena and ^ lighted candles, and prayed, 
he takes his seat in the part on the right-hand side/' " The 
emperor then summons the patriarch, who remains for a short 
time with the emperor, and then goes out, and comes to the 
small secretiun, where is kept the Holy Wood, and receives 
the emperor there. And as the coi^^tion begin the 
* Glory to God in the Highest,' the emperor enters, and kisses 
the Sacred Wood, and comes out into the great secretum. 
Then the emperor, following the Cross, descends by the great 
winding staircase, keeping to the left, and passes through the 
Didaskalion,^ where the paschalia are inscribed, and having 
gone down the steps, he enters through the great gate of 
the narthex, and reaches the royal doors and stands there." 
The emperor and patriarch now pass through the middle of 
the nave, and on the right of the ambo into the solea ; here 
the emperor stands before the Holy Doors, and gives the 
candle he is carrjring to the praepositus. He then enters the 
bema, and having kissed the Sacred Wood, and turning round, 
he comes out again, and passes through the solea, then mounts 
the tlurd or fourth step of the ambo and stands there, hold- 
ing the candle. The patriarch then comes out of the bema 
and mounts the ambo with the Sacred Wood, and the emperor 
gives his candle to the praepositus, and remains there until 
the Wood has been elevated in the four quarters of the ambo. 
The emperor and patriarch then descend from the ambo and 
enter the bema, and the Wood being placed before them 
the emperor prays and kisses it, and coming out through 
the ^de of the bema he is conducted by the patriarch 

^ Karqxpvfuitaf a *^ place for instruction/' used both of upper and lower 

* The college with a provost {didasiahs) and twelve fellows was between 
S. Sophia and the Chalkpprateia (see Bury, ii., p. 433), and therefore 
according to Mordtmann north of S. Sophia. Descending steps are only 
found in the north porch, tnd this is conclusive against Labarte and 
Paspates, who. saw in the Didaskalion a mere passage attached to the south 
side of the church. Paschalia are the tables of Easter. 


to the Holy Well, and having kissed it, he continues to 
the palace/' 

It would almost appear that whereas in the time of 
Arculph {circa 680) the Cross was kept in one of the north- 
eastern chambers by the bema, in the time of Porphyro- 
genitus (tenth century) it was preserved, during certain 
periods, in a secretimi accessible from the gynaeceum. 
Possibly the small upper chapel on the south side ^th 
mosaic ceiling, and the additions over the south porch, both 
built about the. tenth century, may be the chambers in 
question. At the end of the ceremony the Cross was left 
in the bema, and it may be that only on the occasion of 
the Festival of the Cross was it taken up to the gallery, pre- 
paratory to a procession throiigh all parts of the church. 

Procession to the Church.^^Thc foUowing is an account ot 
a pageant, which is the first in the Book of Ceremonies — ^the 
Older of the royal procession to the Great Church. On the 
day preceding the feast, notice was giv^en so that the way 
might be adorned with flowers. The emperor and princes 
carried gifts, and processional candles, and the Cross of St. 
Constantine.^ Priests were sent to receive him with the Cross 
of the Lord, which was taken from the church by the 
Sacristan (skeuophulax). 

In proceeding to the church there were six *^ receptions." 
Three were in various parts of the palace, ^^ and the princes 
come to the gate (Chalke), and the fourth reception takes 
place outside the barrier of Chalke ; the fifth reception takes 
place in front of the Great Gate which leads into the 
Augusteum ; and the sixth reception is at the Horologium 
of S. Sophia." ^ 

*^ And from thence the princes enter through the Beautiful 
Gate, and have their crowns xaemoved by the praepositi 
within the curtain that hangs in the chamber, that is to say, 
the propylaeum of the narthex* And the patriarch receives 
them at the door of the narthex with the usual ceremony. 
.... The lords remove their crowns, kiss the holy Gospel 

^ At this time more than one ^ life-giving cross " was kept at the palace 
and occasionally taken to S. Sophia. Certm. 549* 
> EcL Bonn, p. 14. 


carried by the archdeacon, greet the patriarch, and proceed 
up to the royal doors. Bearing the candles and bowing 
thrice, the entrance is made after a prayer by the patriarch ; 
then diose carrying the sceptres and vessels stand right and 
left of the church ; but those bearing the banners and the 
books stand on either side in the solea ; and the Cross of St. 
Constantine is placed on the right side of the bema. And 
when the lords come to the Holy Doors and to the porphyry 
omphalion, the patriarch alone enters within the screen, by 
the holy door on the left. The princes, after bowing thrice, 
enter with the candles, following the patriarch, and coming 
to the holy table they kiss the holy cloth, and they place 
as is usual on the holy table the two white veils, and kiss the 
holy chalices, and the two discs and the holy corporal cloth, 
which are handed to them by the patriarch. And then by 
the right-hand side of the bema the princes enter with the 
patriarch the Kuklis^ where is placed the Holy Crucifix of 
gold, and again they bow with the candles three times 
praising Gfod ; and the patriarch gives the censer to the 
emperor and he censes the crudnx : then they kiss the 
patriarch, and take leave of him and enter the oratory, 
which is in front of the metatorion, and there, bowing 
three times and praising God, they kiss the Holy Cross 
as well as all the Instruments of our Lord's Passion, and 
then enter the metatorion.'* 



§ I •'—RELICS. 

The True Cross. — ^There would seem to be little doubt 
that a discovery was made about 326 of what was supposed 
to be the true Cross. S. Cyril of Jerusalem, writing some 
twenty-five years later, says that portions of the Cross were 
spread all over the world. We have seen (p. 14) that 
early historians relate that a portion of this predous relic 
was sent to Constantinople by Helena. The principal part 
however remained at Jerusalem xmtil it was taken by 
Chosroes. It is described by some of the pilgrims to the 
holy city as being encased in «lver. Brought back from 
Persia by Heraclius in 628 t(^ether with the spear and 
sponge, it rested for a brief interval in S. Sophia, where 
it was ^^ uplifted '' ; but it was again retiu-ned to Jerusalem 
until 636,^ when imder the fear or the coming troubles the 
larger portion at least was removed. Rohault de Fleury, who 
devoted a folio volume to the Instruments of the Passion, 
quotes a letter from Anseau, a priest of the Holy Sepulchre 
in the twelfth century, which was sent to Paris with a portion 
of the Cross. According to this account the Holy Wood was 
divided into nineteen small Crosses, of which Constantinople, 
possessed three besides the ^^ Cross of the Emperor,'' and 
Jerusalem retsuned four. We have po^tive evidence that in 
the century before Heraclius Constantinople was a centre 
where portions of the Cross were to be obtained : thus 

^ Drapeyron, UEmpereur Heraclius^ 279, 



Radegunde, wife of Clothaire, received a fragment from 
Justin II. and Sophia in 569.^ At this time, according to 
John of Ephesus, there was ^^ a day of the adoration of the 
Holy Cross of our Saviour ; on this festival the Cross is 
brought out and set up in the Great Church, and the senate 
and all the people of the city assemble to worship it.** ^ 
Probably the Exaltation was celebrated concurrently at 
Jerusalem and at Constantinople. 

When we more definitely hear of the True Cross at S. 
Sophia, it is evident, from the frequent occasions in which it 
is transported to different parts of the chiu-ch, and to die 
palace, that it was quite smaU, a relic in fact. 

Arculf {circa 680), as we have seen, describes it as kept in 
a chest, on a golden altar, which was only two cubits long 
by one broad. He says : ^^ it should be specially noticed 
that there are not two but three short pieces of wood in the 
cross ; that is, the cross beam, and the long one divided into 
two equal parts.'* 

Now in the Menologium of Basil we Have a representation 
of the Exaltation of the Cross, which the patriarch is up- 
lifting in an ambo. It is represented as a double cross made 
up or three pieces, not of two. A miniature of the finding 
of the Cross in the National Library of Paris shows the 
same form. Didron remarks that the cross with double 
branches probably originated in Greece, ^^ for it is constantly 
seen in Attica, in the Morea, and on Mount Athos.'* This 
form appears frequently on the later coins of Constantinople, 
and we find that most of the relics of the True Cross which 
still exist on Mount Athos and other places are made up 
with double arms. A reliquary for the fragment, said to k 
that which was sent to Radegunde, was preserved in the 
monastery of S. Cross at Poitiers in the last centiu-y. The 
field was of cloisonne enamel, blue with here and there a 
red flower. A drawing of this relic, of which we give an 
outline,^ shows that this fragment of the True Cross was 
made up in the double-armed form, which was repeated in 

^ Fortunatus celebrated its acceptance by a hymn. 

* y. ofEphesuSy ed. R. P. Smith, 140. 

' Figured in Molinier's VEmailUrii^ Paris, 1891. 


the relic at the Ste. Chapelle.^ Two such relics now at 

Venice are doubly interesting, for besides a cross of this 

form two supporting figures arc represented which are 

inscribed Constantine and Helena.^ Now Ccdrenus and 

other late writers say that in the Kamara of the Milion 

were the figures of Constantine and his mother, with the 

cross between them. The same comjjosition appears in the 

mosaics at the monastery of 

S. Luke. The two Venice 

relics bear the names of the 

Empresses Maria (11 80) 

and Irene (1350). 

Fig. 14 represents the 
Poitiers reliquary; the True 
Cross as shown in the Meno~ 
kgium ; and a cross from a 
late coin. We cannot doubt 
that the Cross at Constanti- 
nople was of this form. 
Was it the result of the con- 
junction of three pieces as 
mentioned by Arailph, or 
^d the upper arm from the 
first r«>re3ent the label f 

With the Cross were 
assodated the other Instru- 
ments of the Pas^on — the 
Crown of Thorns, the 
Sponge and Spear, and slabs 
from the Tomb. 
The catalc^e of relics by Nicholas ThingeyrenHs (1200) 
says, " In S. Sophia is the Cross of the Lord which Helena 
the Queen brought ; *' * but at that time the greater part of 
the Cross and other relics of the Passion seem to have 
been transferred to the chapel in the palace of Boucoleon, 
where they were seen by Robert de Clari (1200). The 

* Figured in ScUumberger's Nicephrus P/wm. 

* Sec Ongania, // Ttitre, Fig. 33 and p. 102. 

* Rianr, Ex. Sae. C.P., vol. iJ., p. JI3. 

H 2 


100 S. SOPHIA 

anniversary of the day on which they were moved from 
S.' Sophia, August 14th, was kept as a holiday. , According 
to Paspates all the relics of the Passion were removed in 
1234. Baldwin 11. took the Crown of Thorns which was 
acquired by S. Louis. It is evident, however, from the 
later Pilgrims quoted below, and from Mandeville, that a 
part ^ of the Passion relics remained or that others were 

Other Treasure and Relics. — "Not only kings and 
patriarchs, but also private individuals and monks brought 
to Constantinople relics of the apostles and martyrs, ancient 
ikons, and all kinds of sacred objects connected with the 
saints of the church. Anything of value in the whole land 
of Palestine was for the most part moved to Constanti- 
nople, and such was the reverence for relics that no church, 
monastery, nor oratory was built without them.** ^ So early 
as 415, when S. Sophia was rededicated, it was necessary to 
have fresh relics (see page 1 6). 

A description of the relics and the treasure of Constanti- 
nople is given in the letter supposed to have been written in 
1095 '^y Alexius Comnenus to Robert, Count of Flanders, 
in which he craves the assistance of the West against the 
Tiu-ks. After enumerating the relics scattered throughout 
the city,' he continues, ** If you do not care to fight for these, 
and gold will tempt you more, you will find more of it at 
Constantinople than' in the whole world, for the treasiu-es 
of its basilicas alone would be sufficient to furnish all the 
churches of Christendom, and all their treasures cannot 
together amount to those of S. Sophia, whose riches have 
never been equalled even in the temple of Solomon.*' 

The dispersion of the relics and treasures of S. Sophia 
and the other churches at Constantinople has been exhaus- 
tively treated by Count Riant,^ The description by 
Anthony, Archbishop of Novgorod, who visited S. Sophia 
in 1200, three years before the capture by the Crusaders, 

^ Paspates, ByzMtinoi Meletae^ p. 285. 

' Des Dip0UtUis Riligieuses enlivks a Cvnstdmtmtpb an xiii stick par ks 
Latins^ 1875, ^^^ ^^ fuller work, BxuvUi Sacrae Cmistantinop^iitanaey 


furnishes the best account of the accumulated riches of the 
great church. We give this in full from the French version 
contained in IHneraires Russes en Orient} 

** I, Antonius, Archbishop of Novgorod, an unworthy and 
humble sinner, by the grace of God and by the help of 
S. Sophia, who is the Wisdom and the Eternal Word, reached 
in safety the imperial city, and entered the great Catholic 
and Apostolic Church. We first worshipped S. Sophia, 
kissing the two slabs of the Lord's sepulchre. Furthermore 
we saw the seals, and the figure of the Mother of God, 
nursing Christ. This image a Jew at Jerusalem pierced in 
the n^ with a knife, and blood flowed forth. The blood 
of the image, all dried up, we saw in the smaller sanctuary. 

*^ In the sanctuary of S. Sophia is the blood of the holy 
martyr Pantaleon with milk,^ placed in a reliquary like a 
little branch or bough, yet without their having nuxed. 
Besides that there is his head, and the head of the Apostle 
Quadratus, and many relics of other ssunts : the healds of 
Hermolaus and Stratonicus ; the arm of Germanus, which 
is laid on those who are to be orduned patriarchs; the 
image of the Virgin which Germanus sent in a boat to 
Rome, by sea ; and the small marble table on which Christ 
celebrated His Supper with the disdples, as well as His 
swaddling clothes and the golden vessels, which the Magi 
brought with their oflRsrings. 

^* There is a large gold * disc ' for the mass, given to the 
patriarch by Olga, a Russian princess, tirhen she came to the 
imperial dty to be baptized.' In this disc there is a precious 
stone which displays the image of Christ, and the seal- 
impressions from this are used as charms ; but on the upper 
side the disc is adorned with pearls. 

*^ In the sanctuary is likewise preserved the real chariot 
of Constantine and Helena, made of silver; there are 
gold plates, enriched with pearls and little jewels, and 
numerous others of silver, which are used for the services on 

^ Soc, OrUnt Latin. Series Ghg,^ vol. v. 

< Alluded to on a single page of MS. in the British Museum (Cott. 
Claud, iv.) 

' In the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, see Ceremmes^ vol. ii., 
ch. zv« 

ibi S. SOPHIA 

Sundays and feast days : there is water also in the sanctuary 
coming out of a well by pipes. 

"Outside the smaller sanctuary^ is erected the *Crux 
Mensuralis/ which shows the height of Christ when on 
earth ; and behind that cross is buried Anna, who gave her 
house to S. Sophia, where now is the smaller sanctuary, and 
she is buried near. And near this same smaller sanctuary 
are the figures of the holy women and of the Virgin Mother 
holding Christ, and shedding tears which fall on the eyes of 
Christ. They give of the water of the sanctuary for the 
blessing of the world. 

" In the same part is the chapel of S. Peter the Apostle, 
where S. Theofmania is buried. She was the guardian of 
the keys of S. Sophia, which people used to kiss. There is 
also suspended the carpet of S. Nicholas. The iron chsdlis 
of S. Peter are kept there in a gold chest ; during the feast 
of ^ S. Peter's Chains * the emperor, the patriarch, and all the 
congr^tion kiss them [see Fig. 8]. Near by, in another 
chapel, is also shown the crystal of the andent ambo, 
destroyed when the dome fell. 

" By the side of [the images of] the holy women is the 

tomb of the son of S. Athenogenius There are no 

other tombs in S. Sophia except that, and a lamp hangs 
in fi-ont of it, which once fell, full of oil, without being 
broken. The place is inclosed by a wood screen, and the 
people are not allowed to enter. 

" When one turns towards the gate one sees at the side the 
column of S. Gregory the Miracle-Worker, all covered with 
brotlze plates. S. Gregory appeared near this column, and 
the people kiss it, and rub their breasts and shoulders against 
it to be cured of thdr pains ; there is also the image of S. 
Gr^ory. On his feast day the patriarch brings his relics to 
this column. And there placed above a platform is a great 
figure of the Saviour in mosaic ; it lacks the little finger of 
the right hand When it was finished, the artist looked at 
it and said, * Lord, I have made thee as if alive.' Then a 
voice coming from the picture said, * When hast thou seen 

^ The French translation has Diakmikon: Riant, in Bxuv. Sacrae^ 
C.P. says "smaller sanctuary : " the Anon, says skeuophyUkitm, 


me ? ' The artist was struck dumb and died, and the finger 
was not finished, but was made in silver-gilt. 

** Above the gate is depicted on a large panel the 
Emperor Leo the "Wise, and in front of it is a precious 
stone, which illuminates S. Sophia at night-time. This 
same Emperor Leo took a certsun writing from Babylon, 
which was foiuid in the tomb of the prophet Daniel. It was 
copied, and on it were written the names of the Greek 
emperors. At the royal gate is a bronze romanistum ^ or 
bolt by which the door is closed. Men and women are 
brought to it, and if they have drunk serpent poison or 
any other poison, they cannot remove the bolt from the 
mouth, until all the evil of the disease has trickled away 
with the saliva. 

*^ By the great altar on the left is the place where an angel 
of the Lord appeared to the boy who was guarding the 
workmen's tools, and said, ^ I will not leave this spot as long 
as S. Sophia shall remain.* Three figures are shown in this 
place, for the angels are psunted there ; and a multitude of 
people come there to pray to God. Not far from there 
is the place where they boil the holy oil, burning under- 
neath it old ikons, whose features one can no longer trace. 
With this oil they anoint children at baptism. Above the 
sanctuary there rises in the sur a great hollow vault covered 
with gold. In the sanctuary are eighty candelabra of silver 
for use on feast days, which occupy the first place, besides 
nimiberless silver candelabra with many golden apples. 

^* Above the great altar in the middle is hung the crown 
of the Emperor Constantine, set with precious stones and 
pearls. Below it is a golden cross, which overhangs a 
golden dove. The crowns of the other emperors are hiuig 
round the ciborium, which is entirely maae of silver and 
gold. Thus the altar pillars and the sanctuary and the 
bema are built of gold and silver, ingeniously made, and 
very costly. From the same ciborium hang thirty smaller 
crowns, as a remembrance to Christians of the pieces of 
money of Judas. To the dborium were attached curtains, 

^ This must be the same as Robert de Clari's *' buhotiaous " fastened 
to the ring of the great door of S. Sophia. 

104 S. SOPHIA 

which were formerly drawn by the bishops during the 
services. We asked why they did so, and they answered 
so that the priests should not see the women and the 
people, but should serve the supreme God with a pure 
heart and soul. Later the heretics,' when nobody could 
see them as they were behind the curtains, took the body 
and blood of .Christ, and spat them out, and trampled 
on them. The Spirit warned the fathers of this heresy, and 
the fathers fixed the curtsuns to the columns of the ciboriiun, 
and set an archdeacon near the patriarch, metropolitan, or 
bishop, so that they should worship God holily without 
heresy. • • . When Jerusalem was taken by Titus many 
sacred vessels and curtains were brought to [New] Rome 
with the royal treasures and given to the oiurch of S. 
Sophia. In S. Sophia also are preserved the tables of the 
Law, as well as the Ark and manna. The subdeacons, when 
they sing ^ Alleluia ' in the ambo, hold in their hands tablets 
like those of Moses. During the proces^on of the Holy 
Sacrament the eunuchs commence to sing, and then the 
subdeacons, and then a monk chants alone. Then many 
priests and deacons carry the Holy Sacrament in procession ; 
at this time all the people not only below, but also in the 
galleries, weep in great humility. What then ought to be 
the fear and humility of the bishops, the priests, and the 
deacons in this holy service ? 

^^ How magnificent are the gold and silver chalices, 
garnished with precious stones and pearls 1 When the 
splendid chest, adled Jerusalem, is brought out with the 
flabella, there rises amongst the people a great groaning 

and weeping But here is a wonderful miracle, whi<£ 

we saw in S. Sophia. Behind the altar of the larger 
sanctuary is a gold cross, higher than two nien, set with 
precious stones and pearls. There hangs before it another 
gold cross a cubit and a half long, with three gold lamps, 
which hang from as many gold arms (the fourth is now 
lost). These lamps, the arms or branches, and the cross, 
were made by the great Emperor Justinian who built S. 

^ /./., the iconoclasts, of whom a number of stories are told by the 
Russian pilgrims. 


Sophia. By virtue of the Holy Spirit the small cross with 
the lamps ascended above the big cross, and again slowly 
came down again without going out. This miracle took 
place after matins, before the commencement of the mass : 
the priests who were in the sanctuary saw it, and ail the 
people in the church who saw it cried with fear and joy, 
* God in His mercy has visited us.' . • • This great and 
wonderful miracle was wrought by God in the year 6708 
[a.m.] on Simday, May iistj being the Commemoration of 
S. G)nstantine and his mother Helena, during the reign of 
the Emperor Alexius and the patriarchate of John. It was 
on the feast of the 318 fathers. Iverdiatinus Ostromitza was 
then living at Constantinople ; he was an ambassador from 
the great Roman duke. Nedanus, Domagirus, Demetrius, 
and Novgaro were also there. 

^* At S. Sophia on the right near the sanctuary is a piece of 
red marble, on which they place a golden throne ; on this 
throne the emperor is crowned. This place was surrounded 
by bronze closures to prevent people walking on it ; but 
the people kiss lU At £his place the Holy Virgin prayed to 
her Son, our Lord, on behalf of all Christians ; a priest who 
was guarding the church at night saw her. On the same 
side IS also the grand icon of S. Boris and S. Glebe, which 
artists copy. When officiating, the patriarch holds it high 
up in the tribune. 

^ In the chapel behind the altar are affixed to the wall the 
upper slab of the Lord's sepulchre, the hammer, the gimlet, 
and the saw, with which the cross of the Lord was made ; 
also the iron chain which was himg to the gate of S. Peter's 
prison, and the wood of the cross which . Christ's neck 
touched. This is inserted in a reliquary in the form of a 
cross. In this chapel above the door is painted S. Stephen, 
protomartyr, and a lamp is hung before him ; when any one 
has bad eyes, they put round his head the rope by which 
this lamp is hung, and his eyes are healed. 

" There is also the figure of Christ whose neck the Jew 
struck,^ and the bronze trumpet of Joshua, who took 
Jericho, and the marble mouth of the well of Samaria. 

^ See this story in GMin Legend^ ^ Exaltation of the Cross.'* 

io6 S. SOPHIA 

Near it Christ said to the woman of Samaria, * Give me to 
drink ; ' the well mouth has been cut in half, and the 
Samaritans still draw water [from the other half]. 

^^ There lie also the bodies of S. Abercius^ S. Gr^ory, and 
S. Sylvester, and the heads of Cyrus and John, and many 
other relics. There also is the Baptistery, upon which is 
painted all the history of the baptism of Christ by John iri 
the Jordan : and how John taught the people, and how 
little children and men threw themselves in the Jordan : all 
this was executed by Paul the Sldlful during my lifetime, 
and there is no psdnting like this. There are there wooden 
supports, upon which the patriarch has had placed the figure 
of Christ, tmrty cubits high ; Paul first painted the Christ 
with colours made of predous stones and crushed pearls 
mixed with water ; this image is still at S. Sophia. 

^* And when they sing matins at S. Sophia, they sing first 
before the great doors of the church, in the narthex, then 
they enter and ^ng in the middle of the church ; then they 
open the paradise gates, and sing the third time before the 
altar. Sundays and ssunts* days the patriarch assists at 
matins and at mass, then he blesses the singers from the 
ambo, they stop singing and then say the polykronia : then 
they b^;in to sing again, and sing as harmoniously and 
sweetly as the angels till the Mass. After matins are 
finished^ they put off their surplices and then go out and 
ask the patriarch*s benediction for the mass. After matins 
the prologue is read in the ambo till the mass ; when the 
prologue IS finished, the liturgy is commenced, and, after the 
service is over, the chief priest in the sanctuary redtes the 
prayer called ^ Of the ambo,' while the second priest redtes 
It in the church oh the side of the ambo, away from [the 
sanctuary] : both, when the prayer is finish^, bless the 
people. In a similar way vespers are sung. There are no 
bells at S. Sophia, but a little hand-bat [hagiosidire] which 
they strike foe matins, though they do not strike it for mass 
and vespers, as in other churches : they follow the precepts of 

the angel in having this bat ; the Latins have bells 

When they built S. Sophia, they indosed holy relics in 
the walls of the sanctuary. There are also many dsterns at 


S. Sophia. Above [evidently under] the galleries are the 
cisterns and storehouses of the patriarchs and of the Church. 
V^etables of every kind [suitable for the table] of the 
patriarchs, melons, apples, and pears are preservd at the 
bottom of the cisterns in baskets hung by cords : when the 
patriarch wants to eat, they bring them up quite fresh : and 
the emperor eats them also. The bath of the patriarch is 
also above [under] the galleries ; the water of the fountains 
mounts by pipes, and the rainwater is preserved in cisterns. 
On the gallenes are painted all the patriarchs and emperors, 
of Constantinople, and those who shared their heresies. In 
the choirs of the church are five heads ornamented with pearls 

like a silver [word indecipherable] Lazarus, the 

image painter ^ . . . first painted at Constantinople, in the 
sanctuary of S. Sophia, the Virgin holding Christ and two 

angels S. Sophia has 3,cxx) priests ; 5cx^ share in the 

benefices of the church and 1,500 have no share ; when one of 
the 500 priests dies, his place is taken by one of the 1,500.'* 

Prankish Occupation and After. — ^Three years after the 
visit of Anthony, Constantinople was taken by the Latins. 
One of the Crusaders, Villdiardouin, writes, "Of holy 
relics I need only say it contsdned more than all Chris- 
tendom combined ; there is no estimating the quantity 
of gold, silver, precious vessels, jewels, rich stufils, silks, 
rob^ of vsur, gris, and ermine, and other valuable things 
— ^the production of all the climates iii the world. It 
is the belief of me, GeofifVey Villehardouin, marechal of 
Champagne, that the plunder of tlus dty exceeded all that 
has been witnessed since the creation of the world." 

Much of the accumulated wealth of six centuries — the 
gifts ftom emperors and private individuals of "sacred 
vessels of gold and pearls and precious stones"^ — ^was 
removed by the Venetians and Franks. Many of these 
precious objects are lost beyond hope of recovery ; such are 

^ Lazarus was a martyr in the cause of image-worship. Sec Bayer, 
Udrt Byzantin, 

^ Cedrenus, ii., p. 609. Irene gave a cross 'distinguished for its 
pearls" : T^co. Qont., p. 703. 

the candlesticks and crosses. As some representation of 
these we give a figure of a gemmed processional cross, with 
its seizae of jewels, from the Menologium of Basil (Fig, 1 5). 
In the treasury of S, Mark's 
at Venice there is however a 
rich hoard of vessels, lamps, 
and other objects, which were 
taken from the churches of 
Constantinople ; and many of 
these crystal lamps, agate cups, 
and enamelled book-covers 
doubtless belonged to S. 
Bj Amongst these may be men- 
^tioned an agate chalice with 
the name Sinnnius. This may 
m-obably be referred to a 
Patriarch of Constantinople of 
that name in 996 ; another 
with the name Ignatius to a 
patriarch in 877 ; a third with 
the inscription "Lord help 
Romanus, the Orthodox Em- 
peror " to Romanus Lecapenus 
(919 — 944).^ Extracts from 
the Venetian historians men- 
tioning objects brought from 
Constantinople are given by 
Riant Paulus Maurocenus 
speaks of " the many holy 
relics, and small figures, and 
chalices and patens and other 
beautifiU things from the 

Fio. 15.— Jewdled Procenionil Cmn. church of S. SofAia ; " alsO, 
*'the very same doors which 
now close the church of S. Mark's .... and two censers 
of gold from S. Sophia of such grace and beauty that 
one cannot see them without bong astounded." He also 
^ Onginia, // Ttitr* dt San Maret, pp. 57, 59. Robiult dc Fl«ary, La Meiie. 


mentions, though it is not quite clear if he assodates this 
with S. Sophia, ^* The paila of silver-gilt with the figures of 
our Lord, the Virgin, the Apostles, prophets, doctors, and 
martyrs, which is now placed in the diurcn of S. Mark." ^ 

The head of S. Pantideon was taken by Henrich Ulmen to 
the church of the saint at Cologne. 

After the interr^;num, S. Sophia was visited by several 
other Russian pilgrims, who have left accounts of the church 
which agree very closely* Of the ftdlest of these, wluch is 
by an anonymous Russian writer, 1424-1453, we give a con- 
densed abstract, as it contains one or two mc»re pomts, shows 
the acauisidon of other relics in the place of those lost, and 
is useful for comparison with the anonymous Greek author 
translated in the next chapter: — 

Near the west door in the middle of the narthex are the 
doors of the ark of Noah and the chain which bound the 
apostle Paul. Above the door is the miraculous image of 
the Saviour, and a lamp is suspended before it. In the 
sanctuary is the life^ving Cross on which the Jews crudfied 
Christ The stone on which He sat and conversed with the 
wcxnan of Samaria is in the chapel on the right. Here is 
the table of Abraham. At the bottom of the church against 
the wall to the right of the altar is the bed of iron on which 
martyrs were burnt. Here is a stone coiFer with relics of 
Martyrs and the Innocents. To the left is the tomb and 
the whole body of Arsenius : the doors of the ark : the 
bench where Jeremiah the prcmhet wept, and a colunm by 
which Peter wept. To the left are buried S. George and 
S. Theologos. On the left is a little shrine beautiftilly 
built ; it contains the image of the Virgin which wept when 
the Franks held Constantinople. Her tears, resembling pearls, 
are kept in a coffer before the image. The instruments of the 
Pas^on are exposed from Thursday to Saturday. Beyond is 
the image of Christ in marble, and the cross of S. John chained 
to the wall. Near the Holy Table in the bema is the tomb of 
S. John Chrysostom, covered by a plank overlaid with gold and 
gems. To the right on entering die church are situated a well 
and large basin of marble in which the patriarch baptizes. One 

^ Exuvioi Sacroi C9nstantinop9iitanai. 


leaves S. Sophia by the south door ; at some steps from the gate, 
to the left, is the Church of the Holy Saviour ; above the door 
is suspended an image which an emperor attempted to destroy. 
Behind the bema of S. Sophia is the church of S. Nicholas. 
Near by in front of the door which is behind the altar of 
S. Sophia is the place where they bless the water, plunging 
in the Cross ; a roof covered with lead surmounts the basin 
of green marble. It is here they baptize the emperors ; 
four cypresses and two palms form a crescent in this place. 
Some distance in front of the ambo of S. Sophia is a 
pedestal of marble which supports the holy chalice ; it is 
witlun a stone inclosure, and is covered by a vault of g^lt 
copper. From the entrance of the church to the ambo is 66 
cubits, and it is 30 beyond to the sanctuary, which is 50 long 
by 100 wide. The church is 200 cubits wide and 150 
high. Above the first door is Solomon in mossuc in a drde 
of azure. 

That these accounts accurately relate the stories of the 
guardians of S. Sophia is sufficiently proved by La Brocquiere, 
who was told in 1433 that S. Sophia possessed *^one of the 
robes of our Lord, the end of the lance that i»erced His ^de, 
the sponge that was offered to Him, and the reed that was put 
in His hand. I can only say that behind the choir I was 
shown the gridiron on which S. Lawrence was roasted [the 
iron bed], and a large basin-like stone on which they say 
Abraham gave the angels food when they were going to 
destroy Sodom and Gomorrah." 

§ 2. ^LIGHTING. 

The description by the Silentiary ^ of the lamps and cande- 
labra which illuminated the Great Church forms one of the 
most fasdnating parts of the whole poem. Although the 
multitude of lamps which once lit up the interior have long 
disappeared, the main features of the lighting may be brought 
back to our imaginations by comparing the description with 
illustrative examples. First then in the central space under 

1 See our p. 49. 


the great dome, chains fell from the height of the upper 
cornice, where they were probably attached to strong bronze 
arms which projected far out like the present metsu stakes 
wluch project in the exedras on the first-floor cornice. These 
chsuns all terminated at some height above the floor in sup- 
porting the great sweep of a metal circle to wluch were 
suspended flat circular discs of silver, each of which was 
pierced with holes into which were dropped glass oil vases 
with rims which prevented them falling through. With these 
discs were associated crosses of metal which also carried lamps. 
These, cross and disc together, or alternately, hanging round 
in a great circle made a ** circling chorus of bright lights " 
within which was a lai^e corona of other lamps and above it 
a large central disc. 

Then along the sides of the church were rows of lamp in 
the forms of silver bowls, and ships ; other rows of lights 
were attached to beams supported above the floor by metal 
standards, and to projecting metal arms, or suspended 
rods. Upon the beam of the iconostasis was a row of 
candelabra, each with a series of horizontal circles diminishing 
upwards about the stem, like a fir-tree, issuing from a silver 
bowl. Above the centre of the iconostasis was a great 
standard light-bearing cross. Round about the ambo 
sinular light trees were placed. 

light coronae, crosses, or single lamps were favourite 
gifts to a church, and in these objects S. Sophia probably 
became much more wealthy as time went on. Michael III., 
for instance, gave to the church in 867 **a circle {kuklos) 
for lights which they call a polycandelon, as big as any of the 
others but all of gold weighing sixty pounch. To it was 
given the first and most holy place.'' ^ ^^ A chalice and paten 
superior to all the others, as well as a polycandelon in the 
form of a cross with many lamps,'* are also mentioned as given 
by Michael. I£s successor Ba^l I., ** as there was a danger 
of the sacred lamps being extingmshed for want of oil," 
assigned for the use of the church *Hhe tribute called 
mantea, so that the light might never be quenched." ^ The 

^ Theoph. Contin., ed. Bonn, p. 211. 
« Ibid., Life of Easily ch, 79, 

Anonymous doubtless oca^eratcs beyond belief intb his 
300 polycandela and 6ocx) lamps all c£ gold, but the kinds 

Fto. 16. — Fol]>ctndeIoi) or Due, for Serenteai Lamp^ En tbe Bridib Umenin. 


of candelabra he speaks of must have been perfectly well 
known (p. 140). 

At the end of the twelfth century, Robert de Clari, the 
knight of Amiens, wrote — " Throughout the church hang one 
hundred candelabra, and there is not one which does not hang 
from a silver chain as thick as a man's arm, and each cande- 
labrum has quite twenty-five lamps or more, and there 
is not a single candelabrum which is not. worth two 
hundred silver marks/' Benjamin of Tudela mentions 
** candelabra, lamps, and lanterns, of gold and silver more 
than any man can name ; " and Stephen of Novgorod 
(1350) speaks of **a multitude inunense, innumerable, of 

Of the great brilliance of illumination obtained in the 
early chur^es there can be no doubt. Paulinus writes that 
at his church at Nola the lights were suspended in such pro- 
fusion that they seemed to float in a sea. An interesting 
account of the method of lighting followed at the Lateran, 
illustrated by a plan of the circles, is given by Rohault de 

A Byzantine lamp-holder lately sent to the Louvre from 
Constantinople is probably almost identical in general form 
with the " discs " of Paulus. This polycandelon is a broad 
flat ring of bronze pierced with eight holes for as many 
lights, and suspendea by four duuns. It bears a votive 
inscription whicn reads, ** Lord, remember thee of Thy servant 
Abraham, son of Constantine." ^ 

In the British Museum is a much more ornate example of 
the same kind of disc. This is also of bronze, about six- 
teen inches diameter, pierced with seventeen holes for the 
lights, the interspaces being cut away, to form a radiating 
pattern. We give a drawing of this interesting lamp^ with 
which we have associated a sniall pierced plate for a lamp 
chain in the same collection (Fig. 16). In the Archaeo- 
logical Museum at Granada there is an ornamental disc 
closely resembling the example in the British Museum. It 
came from the mosque of Elvira, and probably belongs to 

^ La Missiy vol. vi., p. 78. 

* See fig. in Biz. ZeitscMft^ 1893, p. 142. 



the ninth century. 
We mention this 
because the bot- 
tom plate of the 
modem mosque 
lamp with the 
small holes which 
take glass tubular 
vessels eight or 
ten inches long 
and only about 
two inches indi- 
ameter, continues 
the tndition of 
the Byzantine 
polycandela, and 
the cnl vessels well 
represent those 
lik^ spear shafts 
mentioned by the 

In another ex« 
ample in the 
British Museum 
the disc is not 
quite flat but of 
the form of a din- 
ner plate, the holes for the lamps being around the rim. 
This lamp-holder is of silver, and was brought from Lamp- 
sacus near Gallipoli with .several altar vessels inscribed 
with a monogram which reads MHNA or AMHN. In 
Fig. 17 we have restored the oil vases^ Another bronze 
polycandelon has recently been brought from Egypt by 
Professed' Flinders Petrie : this is about eight inches across 
(Fig. 1 81). 

Fig. 17. — Silfer Polycandelon from Lampcacus, 
in the British Museiun. 

^ In the figure 18 the attachment for the chain it shown at A, the 
chain of monograms is taken from Rossi, B shows the provision for the 
chains in the last example (Pig. 17), where there is a sUght mistake, the 
alternate piercings in the rim being crosses as here shown* 


On Mount Athos 
we probably find 
the best existing 
parallel to the circle 
of discs at S. Sophia 
in the monastery of 
Docheiareiu (see 
Fig. 19).! In the 
words of the Silen- 
tiary, " these discs 
form a coronet/* 

The second crown 
of Jights, which hung 
within the great 
circle of discs at S. 
Sophia, would also 
have had a drcular 
rim supported by 
chains with lamps 
suspended beneath, 
or attached to arms 
projecting from the 
rim. S. Bernard 
speaks of a church where were placed " not- crowns but wheels 
with predous stones and lights around them.*' To these 
drcular candelabra ecclesiastical writers usually give the title 
of coronae. Leo III. gave to the basilica or S. Andrew at 
Rome a **gold corona of lamps set with gems.'* Other 
authors call crowns with lamps of this kind phara ; we read 
in Leo Ostiensis of a " pharum or large crown of salver with 
six and thirty lamp hanging from it.*'^ They are also 
spoken of as cyclic but more generally as polycandela. The 
Chronicon Cassinense mentions *' a pharos or crown of silver, 
wdehing a hundred librae, twenty cubits round about, with 
twelve towers projecting from it, and thirty-six lamps hang- 
ing from it. This was fixed outside the choir, before the 
great cross, by an iron chain adorned with seven gold apples." ^ 

^ Adapted from a photographic view in A. Riley's Mountain of the 
Monks. s Da Cangd. > Lit>. iii. This was at Milan. 

I a 

Fio. 18. — Coptic Polycandelon for Four Lamps. 

ii6 S. SOPHIA 

The same chronicle also speaks of z "alver-gilt corona, 
coloured mth predous stones, with six crosses hang^g from 
it." The great circles of Aix and Hildeshcim are the best- 
known examples of the ancient coronae. These have twelve 
toweis like that just mentioned, and they symbolised the 
New Jerusalem. R. de Fleury suggests that relics were 

Pio, 19.— Corona witli Lamp XUta, Uoaat Athoi. 

contained in such turrets. An extremely beautifiil pharos 
in the Hermitage Museum represents a basilica. 

The light crosses were very generally known throughout 
Christendom, and the historian Socrates mentions that 
crosses of silver with burning candles upon them were 
carried in processions in the time of Chrysostom. Accord- 
ing to Anastastus, at S. Peter's there was a large pharos *' in 
the fcHtn of a cross which hung before the presbyterium 
having 1,370 candles ; " this was lighted four times a year ; 


also " a gold carved cross hanging before the altar mth twelve 
candles,* and ** a cross tamp irith two little ships and three 
fishes." The lamp cross hanging in S. Mark's is the best- 
known example remuning. It is possible that those at S. 
Sophia mentioned with the discs hung horizontally to four 

At S. S(^lua, in addition to the discs, crosses, and circles, 
there were, according to Du Cange, lamps hung from nets. 
The word^wtuch he interprets in this way is tlut translated 
"sldff " (line 480), as it means a small row-boat. How he 

Fio. 3a. — Single Lamp with Votive lascriptioD. 

gets his interpretation of nets it is difficult to sec. We 
mention it here for its intrinsic beauty only : it was a familiar 
arrangement for lamps. Anastasius in lus lives of the 
Popes speaks of one of the churches at Rome ha'ving 
" a pharos in the form of a net," and agdn of a lai^ pharos 
** like a net with twenty baskets," ana also " a bronze net 
with silver baskets." 

The hanging lamps in the form of ships mentioned by our 
poet would have carried the oil vessels round their sides. A 
most interesting example of a lamp of this kind is given in 
the Dkiionary of Christian Antiquities (Smith and Chect- 
ham). It represents a small vessel with a mast and sul, con- 

tuning two figures, one steering, and the other 

looking out from the prow. These figures are 

ather Peter and Paul or more probably Christ 

and Peter, The symbolism of uie ship for the 

Church a too familiar to need comment ; the 

mast in the centre, without which the ship is 

L" -■•I' unsafe, as S. Ambrose says, typifies the cross 

y'oN.^ without which the churdi is unable to stand. 

Y^-jK^ The galley form of lamp was well known also 

M^vjK in antiquity. In the Christian era it was only 

one of the many beautiful and suggestive forms 

In which lamps were made ; some resembled 

birds, crystal fish, or shells, others again were 

bowls of white or emerald glass. 

In the sanctuary there would have been sus- 
pended large nngle lamp which burnt per^ 
petually (Akoimetoi), A very fine ungle 
Byzantme lamp of this kind is shown in the 
fifteenth-century picture by Marco Marziale in 
the National Celery, in which the interior of 
S. Mark's figures aa the temple. In Fig. 20 we 
give a restoration of fragments of a beautiful 
early Christian bowl-shaped lamp bearing a 
votive inscription figured by Ross. On Mount 
Athos Dr. Covel noticed a lamp of beaten gold 
set with jewels. 

The treasury of S. Mark's probably still 
conbuns lamps which hung in S. Sophia : one 
of especial beauty is a glass bowl with drclcs cut on the 
outnde and attached to a metal rim on which is inscribed 
in Greek, " St, Panteleon, succour thy servant Zacchariah, 
Archtushop of Iberia, Anien." * 

In illustration of the tree-like candelabra which stood 
above the beam of the iconastasis, and round the ambo, we 
may mention the well-known clas^cal examples. A lamp- 
bearer in the museum at Brussels is described as " an arbusk 
of con^derable aze and irregular trunk and branches with 
lamps suspended from the extremities of its boughs." 
* Pot thi> tod othei Itmpi lee eipecially £4 Mttu and // Tistri. 


Fig, 32. — Candlesticks. 


Anastasius mentions a ** tree of breeze 
with candlesticks to the number of 
fifty in which were placed wax candles, 
thirty-six lamps as well hung from 
the boughs/* Paulmus also speaks 
of hanging candelabra at Nola ^^ with 
branches like a vine bearing little 
glass cups which resembled burning ^ 
miit ; when they were lighted it was 
like the sudden burst into life of 
spring flowers." 

Be^des all these oil lamps there 
would have been a great number of 
standing candlesticks m the sanctuary. 
The Anonymous speaks of some the 
h^ght of a man. One constant type is represented in 
Fig. a I ; this, is inlaid in mother-of-pearl on the apse 
walls at Parenzo, and is of Justinian's time. Fig. 22 shows 
two others from the Menologium. Wax candles, which are 
frequently mentioned, were patterned and coloured. 

The miracle of the moving cross of lights mentioned by 
Anthony reminds us of a remarkable custom in regard to the 
great coronas of lights in Byzantine churches which is observed 
on Mount Athos, and also at Sinai, and is probably andent. 
A part of the great festival service at Vatopedi consists in 
singing the Polyeleos. " When the last of the multitude of 
candles had been lighted in the great coronas under the domes, 
the monks fetched long poles, with which they pushed out 
the candelabra to the frill extent that their suspending 'chdns 
permitted and then let them go, the result being that in a 
few minutes the whole church was filled with slowly swinging 
lights." 1 

The method of lighting described by the Silentiary has 
not changed in the unchanging East. S. Sophia is still lighted 
by a myriad little lamps arranged in rows, or suspended in 
circles. The single lamp is a small glass vessel of oil on 
which floats the wick ; the two typical forms being like a bowl 
or an elongated tumbler. These cups are hung by three chdns, 

^ A. Riley, Moimtain of the Monks. 

or inserted in a ring, at the end of a metal arm, projectuig 
Irom the wall ch: from the rim of a suspended circle. 

Up to the time of Fossati's restoration there was an 
immense polygon of probably some ^xty feet diameter of 
iron rods suspoided from the dome. Grelot ^ described it in 
1680 as a large circle of iron rods hanging down to within 
dght or ten reet of the pavement and having fixed to it " a 
prodigious number of lamps, ostrich eggs, and other baubles." 
In the mosque of Achmet, several rihgs are bound t<^ether 
by stnught rods, making overhead a geometrical arrangement 

Fro, 33.— Kioging Rodi ibr Lsmps in S. Sophit nDdl 185a 

of bars, from which the lamps are syspended ; although 
these are all Turkish, the system rem^ed from Byzantine 
times. Fig. 23 is re-drawn from Fossati. {Aya Sophia^ 
Constantinople, liS^-) 0"^ ^^ ^^^ '"o^' beautiful methods 
is that of suspending the lamps to long str^ght iron bars 
runmng the whole longth of the building as at S. John 

In the mosque of Damascus, before the recent fire, there 
were hanging assemblages of drcles one above another some- 
what similar we may suppose to the trees of the poet. At 
I P. IS+. 


Salonica a network of lamps which hangs almost like a 
curtain before the bema of S. Demetrius may illustrate the 
*^ nets,*' if nets there were. During Ramazan festoons of 
lamps are hung from minaret to nunaret arranged in in- 
scriptions ; in 1676 Dr. Covel of Cambridge saw illumina- 
tions before the Sultan at Adrianople which represented 
^^ castles, mosques, peacocks, Turkish writings, &c, extremely 
pleasant and wonderful to behold/* These were formed by 
lamps hung to light frames ; the method was probably 
derived from Byzantine illuminations such as the nreworl^ 
mentioned as being exhibited in the Hippodrome. 

The four marble pillars that stand up out of the parapet at 
the western gallery of S. Sophia (Fig. 41) must always have 
carried lights on metal branches at the top, much as at 
present ; and the long metal stakes with hook ends, that 
project from the first cornice at the angles of the exedras, 
and from which chandeliers hang, are possibly original in 
some cases. 

The multiplication of small lights is the most brilliant 
system of illumination, for not only is there light everywhere 
but flame, and hence no shadows. Whoever sees the great 
church lighted for the solemn services of Ramazan, when, 
according to Fossati, ** six thousand lamps are suspended at 
various heights," may imagine the splendour of the lighted 
interior in Byzantine times. When, after one of the services, 
the lamplighters walked round and extinguished the lamps 
with a whidc from long fan-shaped brooms, we saw the need 
of the passages above the diflerent cornices; and leaving 
G>nstanrinople one April evening, as we slowly wound round 
the point, while the curde . of windows in the lighted dome 
seemed to hang above the dty, we realised that it was no idle 
saying of the poet's that the mariner guided his laden vessel 
<* by the divine light of the church itself.*' 



From the date of the completion of Justinian's restored 
church it has had to withstand the frequent earthquake 
shocks which, as we have so recently seen, devastate the 
dty from time to time Von Hammer^ adculates, from 
the accounts of the Byzantine historians, that from the 
b^^ning of the seventh to the middle of the fifteenth 
century there were twenty-three severe earthquakes, one of 
which, in 1033, lasted intermittently for 140 days. In the 
Turkish records, fi-om 15 11 to 1765, ten earthquakes are 
mentioned. It is remarkable that in this length of time the 
delicately poised construction of the church should only have 
required restorations which are relatively unimportant. 

It is difficult to say how far the churoi suffered during the 
stru^les about image worship, which raged for more than a 
century. The question ^nll oe considered more fully when we 
deal with the mosiucs of the vaults. The restoration of 
images was finally accomplished in 842,^ by Theodora and 

A belfry was built in the centre of the west front about 
the year 865 : ' and the eastern walk of the atrium was 
prombly transformed into an exonarthex at the same time. 

^ Cinstantinppplis uni in Bosporus^ vol. i., pp. 36-44. 

* The images were restored in S. Sophia on the 19th of February. 
Pagi. Critica in Universes Annates Barpniiy vol. iii., p. 587. 

* Goar's Euchoiegium^ 1647, p. 560. 



Fia 24.— Plans of Additions to West End. A and C North and South 

Pordies ; B Belfiy. 

The first rc^lar restCMution was also undertaken in the 
second half of the ninth century, under Basil the Mace- 
donian : *^ For the wide and lofty western arch of the great 
church called S. Sophia was showing rents and threatening to 
fall. With the help of the workmen he girded it round and 
rebuilt it, so that it was safe and strong. And on it he 
figured the Virgin with her Child on her arms, and Peter 
and Paul, the chief of the apostles, on either side." ^ 

The north and south porches and great lateral stwways, 
which injuriously altered the exterior, must also have been 
built by Michael or Basil, as we find them mentioned in the 
Book of Ceremonies. 

In October 975 an earthquake caused the ** hemisphere 
with the western arch (apsis) to fall." ^ They were restored 
again by the same emperor in six years : he spent, Scylitzes 
ssiySj ** on the machines for mounting for the workmen to 
stand on, and for raising the scafiFolding, to build what was 
fallen ; ten centenaria of gold." ^ According to Glycas, 
Romanus Argyrus (1028) beautified the capitals ; Scylitzes 
also says this emperor ** made bright with silver and gold 
both the capitals of the great church and of our Lady of 
Blachemae." ^ 

^ Cons. Porph. Li/i 9f Basu^ ch. 79. 

* Le9 Diaconus^ ed. Bonn, p. 176. 

^ Da Cange^ 8. B^phUy § 35. ^ Paspates, Bjzantinae Meletae. 

i«4 S. SOPHIA 

The injuries wrought by the Crusaders to S. Sophia are 
referred to in Chapter V, Balden was crowned here in 1 204, 
and for fifty-seven years Catholic priests read masses at its 
altar. On the recapture the Byzantine emperors made an 
effort to restore, but the church never recovered its former 
splendour. The patriarch Arsenius during the reign of 
Michael Palaeologos ** restored the bema and ambo and solea 
at the king's expense, besides enriching the church with 
vestments and sacred vessels." ^ In the first half of the 
fourteenth century, Andronicus Palaeologus, the elder, 
strengthened the north and east sides, ^^cephorus Gr^oras 
says the emperor ** heard fi-om several experienced buUders 
that in a short time the parts towards the north and east 
would give way, and fall unless strengthened. And he 
built pyramidal structures from the foundations and pre- 
ventea the threatened destruction," but bricks and mosaic 
continued to fall.^ The pyramidal structures to the east 
must be the four great sloping buttresses which stand over 
the low attached buildings on that side ; they are shown on 
Fossati*s plan. Gr^oras also inveighs agdnst the Empress 
Anna as having, in the reign of Cantacuzenus, robbed the 
church of furniture and ornaments, and says that tyranny 
and oppression were the chief causes of the destruction of 
the church. Cantacuzenus, in his own history,' speaks of the 
damage caused by an earthquake in 1 346, when about a third 
of the roof fell, destroying ** the great stoa by the side of the 
bema " (perhaps the iconostasis). This is also referred to by 
Gregoras, *^ the easternmost of the four arches which rival 
heaven fell, dragging ^th it the part of the house which 
rested on it. The hidden beauty or the bema was destroyed 
as well as its ornaments of sacred icons." ^ The stoa and bema 
were restored by the Empress Anna, the wife of Andronicus 
Palaeologos, Phaceolatus being prefect of the works, but the 
upper parts with the roof had to wait until the accession of 
Cantacuzenus in 1 347. He restored the decoration both in 
marble and mosaic, a work which John Palaeologus finished. 

^ Pachymeresy ed. Bonn, i., p. 172. 

' Hist, Byzan.^ ed. Bonn, p. 273. 

» Ed. Bonn, lib. iv., p. 29. * Niccphorus Gregofai, p. 749. 


Both emperors were helped <« by one Astras, in many things 
a clever man, but espedally in building, and by John, sur- 
named Peralta; one or the Latin subjects of the emperor." ^ 

The church was necessarily much neglected in the last 
da]^ of the Empire. Clavijo, who gave a careful account of 
the church in 1403 (see Chapter IX.), says ^* the outer gates by 
which the church was approached were broken and fallen.'* 
He notes that ^* the Greeks do not call Constantinople as we 
name it, but speak of it as Escomtolu^ This clearly proves that 
the derivation of the Turkish name Istambul from eh rifv 
wt(X*y, " to the city," is correct^ 

The Florentine Bondelmontius, who was there in 1422, 
says that ** only the dome of the church remained, as every- 
thing is fallen down and in ruins." This exaggeration is 
prolmbly explained by a story given by the Chevalier Ber- 
trandon de la Brocquiere, who visited the city eleven years 
later, in the course of his remarkable ride from Damascus to 
Dijon along the route of the present Oriental express. He 
attended service in the church, and writes : — ^** There the 
patriarch resides, with others of the rank of canons. It is 
situated near the eastern point, is of a circular shape, and 
formed of three different parts, one subterranean, another 
above the ground, and a third over that. Formerly it was 
surrounded by cloisters, and was, it was said, three miles 
in drcumference.^ It is now of smaller extent, and 6nly 
three cloisters remain, all paved and inlaid with sqiiares of 
white marble, and ornamented with large colunms of various 
colours. The gates are remarkable for their breadth and 
height, and are of bronze." * The visit of the Chevalier 
Bertrandon brings us within twenty years of the fall of the 
great city. 

The incidents of the later years of the empire, the vwn 
efforts to get help from Europe, and the schemes for uniting 
the Greek and Latin churches, are described by Chedomil 

^ Cantacuz., ed. Bonn, p. 30. 

* Compare Tozer's Turiej^ i. 97. He safs Constantinople is still coH^ 
stantly called ^ the City ** all over the Levant. 

* Gyllius reports a similar story. 

* Wright's Ear/j Travels in PaUstim. 

126 S. SOPHIA 

Mijatovich*^ In the year before the Fall the negotiations 
with the West had proceeded so far, that, on the 1 2th of 
December 1452, a 7^ Deum after the Latin rite was sung bv 
Girdinal Isidore in S. Sophia, but this did not meet with 
favour from the populace. Ducas speaks of the church after 
that time as being nothing better than a Jewish synagogue or 
heathen temple. Five months later, on the 28 th of May 
1453, the last Christian service was held within its walls. 
At the vesper service on that solemn evening, the emperor, 
after praying with great fervour, left his imperial chair, and, 
approaching the iconostads, prostrated himself before the 
i^^res of Christ and the Madonna on either side of the 
great central door. He then asked for pardon from any 
whom he might have offended, and the ritual proceeded. 

On the morrow at the first capture of the dty the Janis- 
saries rushed to the great church, which they conceived was 
filled with gold, ^ver, and predous stones. They found the 
doors fastened, but broke them open, and at once bq^an to 
pillage. The sultan as soon as possible rode to S. &3phia. 
Dismounting on the threshold, with the mystic symbolism of 
an Oriental, he stooped down, and, collecting some earth, let 
it fall on his turbaned head, as an act of humiliation. Then 
he entered the edifice, but stopped in the* doorway some 
moments, and gazed in silence before him. 

*^He saw a Turk brealdng the floor with an axe. 
• Wherefore dost thou that ? * mquired the conqueror. * For 
the faith,' replied the soldier. Mahomet in an impulse of 
anger struck him, saying, * Ye have got enough by pillaging, 
and enslaving the dty, the buil(Ungs are mine.' " 

A letter to Pope Nicholas V., written in 1453) describes 
how ** the profane heathen broke into the marvellous temple 
of S. Sophia, unsurpassed by Solomon's ; they reverenced not 
the sacred images, nay, rather broke them in pieces; they put 
out the eyes of the priests, scattered the relics of the saints, 
and seized on the gold and silver." ^ 

Ducas, who died eleven years after the Fall, bewails ** the 
Great Church, a. new. Sion which has now become an altar of 

^ ^* Constantine; tH'e last emperor of the Greeks.'' 
* Brit. M us. M SSi Add. 6^417. 


the heathen, and is called the house of Mahomet." ^* The 
dogs hewed down the holy ikons, tore off the oraaments, the 
chains, the napkins, and the coverings of the holy table. Some 
of the lamps they destroyed, and others they carried away. 
They stole the sacred vessels from the skeuophylakium. 
Everything made of silver and gold 01^ other precious 
materials was taken away, and the church was left naked and 
desolate as it had never been before.'' 

"y^th the exception of the removal of much of the 
treasure, the churcK did not immediately sufier great harm 
from it$ new masters. 

On the outside however the destruction of many of the 
low attached chambers, and the addition of the minarets, 
have very much changed its appearance. The first minaret, 
which was indeed the first in G>nstantinople, was built at 
the south-east comer by Mahomet the Conqueror. Selim II., 
who reigned frdm 1566 to I574» built the second at the 
north*east comer, and also restored the eastern apse which 
had been again damaged by an earthquake : Amurath III. 
erected the last two minarets at the western comers.^ 

^* The description of the church of S. Sophia as it now 
appears," which forms one of the chapters in Gyllius* (t 1 555) 
Topography of ConstanHnopk^ describes the church bef(M« the 
addition of these three last minarets. It is interesting to 
note that he remarks how little the building had been 
altered, ^^and it is despoiled of nothing, except a little of the 
metal work [mosaic ?] wluch shows itself in gt^eat abundance 
through the whole church. The Sanctum oanctorum, for- 
merly holy and unpolluted, into which the priests only 
were sufifered to enter, is still standing, though there is 
nothing remaining of the jewels and predous stones which 
adorned it, these having been plundered by its sacrilegious 
enemies." This is later supported by Grelot,^ who writes, 
** It is decorated with everydiing that human industry and 
skill could devise to render the work absolutely perfect. 
. . • . I say nothing about the beautiful pictures, the faces 
of which have been destroyed by the Turks." It is clear 

* Salzenberg, Altchristtiche Baudenkmau* 

* RiUttpn d*tm Vrfagt de Ciiutantin^pU^ >i68o. 

128 S. SOPHIA 

from Toumefort (1702) and Lady Mary Montagu (1717) 
dial the mosucs were not wholly obliterated ; the latter writes, 
^* the figures were in no other way defaced but by the decays 
of time : for it is absolutely ftlse that the Turks defaced all 
the images they found in tne dty." On the other hand, an 
Italian MS. description of S. Sophia in the British Museum, 
written in 1611, says, ^^The Turks took away all the 
beautiful work and covered everything with whitewash/* ^ It 
is evident from Dr. G>vers MS., quoted later, that much 
wais destroyed, defaced, and plastered over. Dr. Walsh tells 
us that one of the smaller vaults fell in about 1820, scattering 
its mosaic over the floor. 


We must now examine the description of the church by 
the writer generally called the Anonymous of G>mbefis 
(othemrise of Banduri or Lambedus). Codinus, who is 
believed to have died soon after the capture of G>nstantinople 
by the Turks, has so closely copied the Anonymous that 
the accounts differ only in a few minor particulars. G>mbefis 
says that the text of the Anonymous was collated, by 
Lambedus, ** who produced it from the royal archives '' witn 
the Chronography of the Logothetoiy a tenth-century work 
to which the same account is added as a separate treatise. 
Labarte however considers that it was written in the eleventh 
century : Choisy assigns it to the fourteenth, a view with 
which we are inclined to agree ; but in any case we cannot 
think it earlier than the twelfth century. - 

The description by Paulus is so precisely accurate where 
we can — ^as is so largely the case — check it by the existing 
work, that there cannot be a doubt of his entire accuracy. 
With the Anonymous this is not so ; and it must first of 
all be borne in mind that he professes not to write of the 
church as he saw it, but. to celebrate its splendour when first 
completed by Justinian*; in this his account difiers entirely 
from the Silentiary's, which there is no sign to show that he 

1 MS. HarL, 3408. 


had ever read. The Anonymous has been very largely used 
by scholars of the ability of Labarte and Bayet, but we 
believe him to be entirely unreliable where he speaks of the 
former state of the church. He simply gathers the l^ends 
which had grown up, because facts were forgotten, and 
enumerates the relics. 

** The great church,^ known as S. Sophia [formerly a place 
of heathen worship — ^Codinus], was first built of an oblong 
(dromica) form, like those of S. Andronicus and S. Acadus. 
On its completion it was adorned with many statues. This 
building lasted seventy-four years. But in the rdgn of 
Theodosius the Great, at the time of the second synod of 
Constantinople, an Arian uproar arose, during which the 
roof of the church was destroyed by fire. The most holy 
patriarch Nectarius took up his ofilice at S. Irene, a church 
which was also built by Constantine. Then for two 
[Gxiinus and Glycas say sixteen] years S. Sophia was 
without a roof, until Theodosius, with Rufinus as his master 
workman {nMgistros\ covered it with cylindrical vaults. 
After this it remsdned unhurt for thirty-nine years, making 
altc^ether eighty-five years {sic) from the time of Con- 
stantine, until the fifth year of Justinian's reign. This 
was after the massacre in the Circus, in which thirty-five 
thousand men were killed, when a faction elected Hypatius 
emperor. However, in the fifth year of Justinian's reign, 
the Most High God put it into his mind that he should 
build a temple to surpass all that had ever been built from 
the time of Adam. 

^^ He wrote therefore to the strategi, toparchs, judges, and 
satraps of the dififerent provinces, that with all zoil they 
should look for materials--columns, piers, panels, and lattice- 
doors — everything in fact that would be useful for building. 
Obe^ng the emperor's letter, they quickly sent all that could 
be found from the shrines of the pagan idols, from baths, 
and private houses, fi-om every province of east, west, north, 
and south, and from all the islands. 

1 From Originum Rerumque Constantinopolitarium^ variis auctoribus^ 
manifulus^ F. Franciscus Combefis, Paris, 1664. The same anonymous 
description is also given by Banduri, Imferium Orientale^ ed. 171 1, vol. i. 

130 S, SOPHIA 

*^ Eight porphyry columns from Rome, which, according 
to Plutarch, Justinian's secretary, a widow Marcia had 
received as dowry, were transmitted to G>nstantinople. 
They had formerly stood in a temple of the Sun built by 
Valerian, who surrendered himself to the Persians. Eight 
others of green, of marvellous beauty, were quarried and 
sent from Ephesus by the praetor Constantine. The Marda, 
whom I have just mentioned, wrote to the emperor as 
follows : ^ I send thee, master, eight colmnns from Rome 
of equal length and size, and the same weight, for the 
safety of my soul.' 

** Of the other columns some were brought from Cyzicus, 
some from the Troad, others from the Cydades and Athens. 
And when suffident was collected for the work seven and 
a half years had been spent. Then in the twelfth year of 
Justinian's rdgn, the church built by Constantine was 
destroyed with the foundations ; the old materials were put 
aside, as a suffident amount of fresh had been prepared ; 
and Justiman b^an to buy up the neighbouring houses. 
The first of these was one belonging to a widow named 
Anna, of which the price was estimated at eighty-five librae. 
She was however unwilling to sell it to the emperor, and 
refused to give it up under five hundred librae ; nor did the 
emperor gain his purpose by sending the nobles of the court 
to win her over. He finally went himself and begged her 
to sell her house at any price. But when she saw him as a 
suppliant, she fell at his feet, saying, ^ Lord and King, I can 
accept no moneys for my house from thee ; I ask only that 
I may obtsun reward in the day of judgment, and that I 
may be buried in a tomb near the future church, so that the 
memory of my gift may live for ever.' The emperor 
promised that when the church was finished she should be 
buried there, for the land which she had given up, that the 
memory of it might live for ever. The part whidi she gave 
to the great church is that now occupied by the skeuophy- 
lakium, and the chapel (naos) of S. Peter. 

" Then the part which is occupied by the Holy Well, and 
all about the thysiasterium, and the place of the ambo, and 
the middle of the nave, was the house of a certain eunuch. 


Antiochus, which was valued at thirty-eight librae. He was 
offended because the emperor had not ofiered him a proper 
price for it. Now the emperor was much distressed, 
wondering what to do. But the Magister Strategius-r-a 
guardian of the treasures, the adopted brother of the 
emperor — ^promised that the emperor should gdn his point 
by a little guile, and that the other should sell his house. 
Now this Antiochus was an eager frequenter of the Circus, 
and espedally favoured the blue faction. When the games 
were about to be given, he was arrested and imprisoned in 
the Praetorian prison. Then Antiochus called out from the 
prison that if he could only witness the games he would do 
whatever the emperor wished. He was then led by the 
emperor's orders to his empty seat, and made to sell his 
house before the games commenced, the Quaestor and the 
whole Senate being witness. Now there used to be the 
custom, that as soon as the emperor ascended to his seat the 
charioteers should begin, but because they stopped then, 
until the eunuch had accomplished his deed of sale, even to 
the present day the chariots for the races are accustomed to 
enter at a slow trot. 

** The whole of the right-hand part of the Gynaeceum ^ up 
to the column of S. Basil, and some portion of the nave, was 
the house of an eunuch, Chariton, nicknamed Chenopolus, 
who sold it as a favour for double its value, which was 
twelve librae. 

** The left part of the Gynaeceum ^ up to the column of 
S. Gregory Thaumaturgus was the house of one Xenophon, 
a cobbler. When they wanted to buy this house, besides 
asking twice the value, which was fourteen librae, he also 
demanded that, on the day of the games, the four chariot- 
eers of the four factions should do obeisance to him as well 
as to the emperor. The emperor decreed that it should be 
done as he had asked, but made him a laughing-stock for 
ever. For on the day of the games he was set midway in 
the boundaries, so that the charioteers, by way of joke, 
bowed to his back before banning their courses, and so it 

^ Evidently meant for lower aisles. 

K 7, 

i$z S. SOPHIA 

is still done, and the man is styled ^ Chief of those below. 
He wears a white chlamys, woven with byssus. 

^^ On the area of the naos, the four nartheces, the louter, 
and the parts adjacent, was the house of Damianus, a noble 
of Seleuda, the value of which he estimated at ninety librae, 
and gladly gave to the emperor. 

^^ Now Justinian, when he had measured out the site, and 
foimd a stone to act as centre, from the thysiasterium as far 
as the lower [western] apse, laid the foundations of the 
great dome in circle-wise. Now from the apses right away 
to the most outside narthex, the foundations were laid in 
marshy and spongy ground. And when it had been b^;un, 
he urged Eutychius the patriarch to offer up prayers to God 
for its safe building, atKl then, taking with his own hands 
lime and stone, giving thanks to God, he himself laid the 
first stone in its place. Now before the church was built 
he constructed the oratory of S. John the Precursor with a 
gilt vault, and various ornamentations of precious stones. 
This is generally call the Baptistery, and is situated near the 
Horologium. He built at the same time the adjacent 
portion of the Metatorium, that he might frequently rest 
there with his court, and refresh himself with food. Then 
also he built the whole of the portico, which leads from the 
palace up to the Great Church, so that, as often as he liked, 
he might cross over and devote his time to the building, 
without being seen by any one. . There were one hundred 
master workmen, and each had a band of a hundred men 
under him, making ten thousand men altogether. Fifty 
bands took one side, and fifty the other ; and by the 
emulation between them, the work quickly progressed. 

** The form of the church was shown to the emperor in a 
dream by an angel. And the first Deviser (mechanikos) of 
the builders was skilful and full of sound wisdom, and well 
versed in building churches. Barley was put into cooking 
pots, and its decoction, instead of water, was mingled with 
unslaked lime {asbestos) and tiles [crushed]. The mixture, 
when warm, became viscous and sticky. At the same time 
they cut slips off willow trees, wluch were cast into the 
cooking pots with the barley ; they then made solid masses^ 


having a length of over fifty feet, and fifty feet broad, and 
twenty feet deep, and placed them in the foundations. 
They were put there, not hot, nor yet quite cold, that so 
they might bind better, and above these masses they placed 
large square stones. 

^^When the foundations had arisen from the earth two 
cubits, they had spent four hundred and fifty-two miliarisia 
of gold. Money was brought daily from the palace, and 
placed in the Horologium, and each of those who carried 
stone received a piece of silver, lest any slackness should 
come upon them, or they should be tempted to complin. 
Sonle of them, when carrying stone, gave way under the 
weight, and fell head foremost and were hurt. Strat^us, 
whom I have mentioned, distributed the wages : he was 
a G>imt of the royal treasury, and foster-brother of 

" Now when the piers (pinsoi) had been finished, and the 
great columns, both those ft'om Rome and the green ones, 
had been put in their position, the emperor left his noon- 
day sleep and devoted himself to the work, and inspected, 
with Troilus, a count of the household, all the polishers 
{lithoxooi)y stonecutters {laotomoi\ carpenters (jektonikoi)^ 
and labourers {pikodomBt)^ promising them each week a 
nummus more, or as much as each might ask, above their 
fixed wages. He used to come to see how the work was 
proceeding, clad in a white linen garment, his head covered 
with a kerchief, and holding a stick in his hand.* 

" And when they had raised the vaults (apsides) of the 
upper floor, those on the right and on the left, and had 
covered over these vaults, the emperor decreed that no 
miliarisia should be carried ftom the palace on Sundays. 
Now it was the third hour of the day, and Strategius 
ordered the men to go to their dinners. As Ignatius, the 
first mechanikos of the builders whom I have mentioned 
above, came down, he left his son on the right-hand side of 
the upper floor, where he had been working, with strict 
orders to watch the workmen's tools. He was a boy of 
about foiuteen. As he was sitting there, a eunuch, dad in 
shining garments, and fdr to look upon, like one sent from 

134 S. SOPHIA 

the palace, appeared to him and said, ^ What is the reason 
why the workmen do not quickly finish the work of God, 
but have left it and gone to eat?' To him the boy 
answered, ^At the earliest hour, my lord, they will be 
here/ But he cried, ^Go quickly and bring them/ 
When the boy said that he was not to leave, lest the 
tools should disappear, the eunuch said, ^Go quickly and 
summon them here, for I swear to thee, my son, by the 
Holy Wisdom, whose temple is now being built, I will not 
depart, since, by the command of the Word of God, I am to 
minister and guard here until you return/ When he heard 
this, the boy qmckly set out, leaving the angel of God as 
guard. And when he had got down, and gone to his father 
and the rest, he related everything in order ; then the father 
took his son and led him to the emperor's table. For the 
emperor was then cUning in the oratory of St. John the 
Precursor, by the Horologiiun. When he heard the story, 
he summoned all his eunuchs, and showed each in turn to 
the boy. Then the boy calling out that he saw none like 
the one that had appeared, the emperor knew that it was an 
angel of the Lord who had addressed the boy, and this was 
made more clear, as the boy said that he was clothed in a 
white robe, his eyes glittering like fire ; then the emperor 
praised God, saying, ^ God has accepted my temple.' And 
as he had been wondering what name to call it, he named 
it S. Sophia, according to interpretation •Word of God.' 
And the emperor took counsel with himself and s^d, • I 
will not allow the boy to return, so that the angel may 
suard it for ever, as he promised by his oath. For if the 
boy return, the angel wUl depart.' Having consulted with 
the principal senators and the bishops, the emperor com- 
manded that the boy should not be sent back to the temple, 
so that, by the grace of God, it should have a guardian till 
the end of the world. And then the emperor loaded the 
boy with gifts and honours, and, with the consent of his 
father, sent him to the Cydades. Now the conversation of 
the angel with the boy happened on the right-hand side of 
the pier of the upper arch, as one ascends towards the dome. 
[Codinus says, "near the Syllagonum," for this it has 


been suggested to read Syllagoeum, or *^the place of the 
council ' J. 

*^ When the workmen had continued the work up to the 
second catechumena, and the upper columns and arches were 
built, and they were roofing the adjacent parts, the emperor 
began to be anxious for want of funds. But as he was 
standing in the upper part of an arch, as they were about to 
b^in the dome, at the hour of the Sabbath just before 
cUnner, an eunuch appeared to him, clad in white, and s^d, 
*Why are you distressed for money? To-morrow bid 
some of your nobles to come, and they shall have as much 
gold as they ^sh.' On the following day the eunuch came 
and showed himself to the emperor. The emperor sent 
to follow him Strategius, and Basilides the quaestor, and 
Theodorus the patrician, and Colocyns who was a praefect, 
besides fifty servants, twenty mules, and twenty paniers. 
With all these he marched out of the Golden Gate. And 
when they had come to the Tribunalium, there seemed to 
those who were sent to be built there palaces of stupend- 
ous beauty. But when they had dismounted, the eunuch 
bade them ascend a wondernil st^, and then, produdng a 
splendid gold key, he opened the door of a room, and, as 
Strat^us says, the whole floor was heaped with gold coins. 
Taking a shovel, the eunuch filled each panier with four 
hundr^ pounds of gold, amounting altogether to eight 
thousand, and with these he sent them back to the emperor ; 
and having closed up the room with the key, he said to 
them, * Tsdke the gold to the emperor, and bid him spend 
it on the work.' The eunuch left them there, and they 
came and showed the emperor the gold they had received. 
He was astonished, and asked them where they had been, 
and where the eunuch dwelt. They told him all in order, 
and how the wealth of gold was spread on the floor of the 
room. The emperor hoped that the eunuch would return, 
but as he was disappointed he sent a slave to the place. 
When the slave had found the place where the palace had 
been, and saw that there were no houses there, he returned, 
and told all to the emperor. He was then astonished, 
but understanding how it was, said, * Truly this is a miracle 
as all may see ; ' and he praised God. 


"Now when they were going to build the thysiasterium 
and let in the light through glass windows, the Deviser 
(jnechanikos) suggested that the apsoid {muax) should have 
one light. Then he changed his mind, and suggested that 
it should have two, so that it should not be heavy, because 
no wooden ties (jkritmaUi) were placed there as in the 
]iarthex, and on the sides of the church. But the rest of the 
craftsmen were opposed, saying that one arch (Jkamara) would 
light the holy place. Then the chief builder (profooikodomos) 
was at a loss what to do, because the emperor said at one 
time that there should be one arch (apsis)y and at another 
time two. Whilst the master {maistor) was thus pondering 
and anxious, on the fourth day, at the fifth hour, appeared 
an angel of the Lord, like the emperor, with royal robes and 
red shoes, and said to the craftsman. ^ I will that there be a 
triple light, and that the conch be made with three windows,^ 
in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.' 
He then disappeared quickly. Then the master, struck with 
wonder, rushed to the palace, and said to the emperor, ^ You 
keep not to your word. Until to-day you wanted one 
window, and then two, to light the bema ; but now, when 
the work is all but finished, you come to me and say, three 
windows shall light the bema, as a symbol of the Trinity.* 
Now the emperor knew that day that he had not left the 
palace, and he recognised that an angel of the Lord had 
spoken. He said, * As I have bidden thee, so do.' 

"All the piers (pessoi) inside and outside were made 
strong by iron bars (mochloi)j so that they w;ere bound 
together, and made inunovable ; the joints of the piers 
were made with oil and asbestos ; .-and upon them was placed 
a plating of many marbles {prthomarmarosis). 

" The emperor sent Troilus the Cubicular, Thedosius the 
Prefect, and Basilides the Quaestor, to Rhodes to have bricks 
{besala) of Rhodian clay, made all equal in weight and 
length,' with the words engraved on them, ^ God is in the 
tsxlEsX, of her, therefore shall she not be moved ; God shall 
help her, and that right early.' ^ And they sent bricks of 

^ If this interpretation can be accepted for otooa. 
* Bricks stamped with long inscriptions of this kind were frequently 
used : one from Sirmium is mentioned in Bjzantimschi ZeitseMft for 


measured sizes to the emperor, twelve of them weigh One of 
ours ; for the clay is light, spongy, fine, and white ; hence 
arose the common idea that the dome is built of pumice 
stone (Jtiserion) ; but this is not so, though it is light and of 
a white colour. 

^^ Thus the four great arches were built; and when they had 
been raised to the level of the dome (jroulos)^ on the com- 
pletion of every twelfth course, prayers were uttered for the 
church, and relics of the saints built in. Thus arose the 
building ; it was then adorned with marble and covered 
with mosaic. And into the piers, arcades, and larger 
colmnns they placed relics of the sdnts. And when the 
marble platii^ had been finished, they applied gold to the 
margins of the slabs, and to the capitals of the columns. 
And the carved work, and the ornaments of the upper 
galleries, both of the parts with two stories, and with 
three {diorophoi and triorophoi\ were all covered with pure 
gold. The thickness of the gold plating {petalos) was two 

**But all the vaults *(^^^^^^0 ^^ ^^ upper galleries, of the 
parts with two stories on the sides, and the vaulting of the 
nave, and of the parts adjacent, and of the four nartheces, 
he gilded with gkss mosaic. He gilded even the proaulia, 
wim their upper chambers, and columns, and marble slabs. 

^^ The floor of the nave was adorned with various marbles, 
both with the Roman of a rue-green colour and others of a 
rosy red ; and these were all laid down and polished. The 
walls outside and all round were covered with large and 
valuable stones. 

^^The thysiasteriiun was of shining silver, the barrier 
{stethed)^ and its large columns, with the doors, were all of 
silver. All the silver was dipped in gold. Four tables were 
set up in the thysiasterium supported on columns, and these 
were eUt. The seven seats of the priests, on which they sat 
on either ^de, with the throne of the patriarch, and the four 

1894, p. 222 : '^O Lord Christ, help this city, keep off the Avars and 
guard Romania and him who writes this, Amen." 

^ This may mean the thickness of the marble wall lining in some 
places gilt — \f it has a meaning. 

138 S. SOPHU 

columns, were all gilded And it was forbidden to go up 
into the holy place, the KukUoSy also called the Holy of 
Holies, which is above the steps. 

^' He set up also lai^e colunms of silver-gilt, and the lilies 
with the dboriiun. And the ciborium he made with silver 
and nielloed {arguraencauston). Above the ciborium was a 
globe of solid gold, weighing 1 1 8 pounds, and golden lilies, 
weighing six pounds, and above them a golden cross, with 
most precious and rare stones, weighing dghty pounds. Such 
was the design he made. 

^'And as he wished to make the holy table more beautiful 
than the rest, and more precious with gold^ he collected 
numerous craftsmen, and consulted witn them. Their 
opinion and advice was to cast into the melting pot 
{chotuuterion) gold, silver, stones of every kind, and pearls, 
copper, electron, lead, tin, iron, glass, and every other 
metallic substance. And they ground them all together and 
formed them into masses {plboi)y and poured them into the 
pot ; and when it had been melted, they took it from the fire 
and poured it out into a mould (Jupos). Thus the holy table 
was made. And it was then set up by the emperoi^^on solid 
columns of gold, studded with precious stones. And the 
^ sea ' (jhalassd) of the holy table was ornamented with gold 
and precious stones. Who can see the holy table without 
being astonished ? and who can gaze at it on accoimt of the 
many glinting surfaces ? so that at one time it all appears of 
gold, from another place all of silver, and in another of 
glittering sapphire ; and altogether there are eighty-two 
diiierent colours of metals and stones and jpearls. 

"He made also, above and below, carved ivory doors over- 
laid with gold, to the number of 365. In the first entrance 
into the louter he made the doors of electron ; doors also of 
electron were in the narthex, two of them smaller than the 
middle one, which was much laif^er, and of silver dipped in 
gold {chrusembaphos). The ardiitraves also were overlaid 
with gold. Three of the doors inside, instead of being made 
of new wood, were made of wood from the Ark. He wished 
to make the pavement entirely of silver [G)dinus says gold]; 
but his advisers dissuaded him, sapng that in the future 


poor emperors might have it taken up. And those who 
persuaded him were Masdmian and Hierotheus, Athenian 
philosophers and astronomers, saying that in the latter days 
poorer rulers would come and take it all away. And 
following these counsels the thought was given up. And 
every day the emperor had 2,000 miliarisia put in a neap and 
mingled with earth ; and when work was finished, in the 
evening, the craftsmen dug out the mound and found the 
miliarisia, and this the emperor did that they might be eager 
for their work. And collecting the materials, as was said, 
took seven and a half years. But the completion of the temple, 
even with the crowd c^ workmen I have mentioned, all labour- 
ing with the greatest eagerness, took nine years two months. 

** The ambo with the solea he paved with sardonyx, and 
inserted predous stones ; its columns were of solid gold^ mih 
carbimdes and crystals and sapphires ; and he overlaid the 
upper part of the solea richly with gold. The ambo had 
also a golden dome studded with pearls, lychnites, and 

^* The gold cross of the ambo weighed 100 pounds. It had 
also seizae,^ and lychnites, and was embroidered with pearls. 
And the ambo above had a hat-shaped covering {pePasion)^ 
upon 2 supp(»ts {stethea). 

" The top of the Holy Well was brought from Samaria. 
It was considered sacred, because Christ had sat on it, and 
talked to the woman. And the bronze tnunpets, which 
stand by the Holy Well, were brought • from Jericho ; they 
were those at whose blasts by angels the walls of Jericho 
fell down. The honoured Cross, to-day in the skeuophy- 
lakium, which was the measure of our Lord's height, was 
eagerly sought for in Jerusalem by the faithful and brought 
hither. And for this reason they surroimded it with silver, 
and all kinds of predous stones, and overlaid it with gold. 
And to this day it works healing wonders, and drives away 
diseases and demons. And in every column [of the church] 
both above and below is placed one sacred relic 

^ <ra(pXi 8 network, studded with jewels, suspended from processional 
crosses, and from the sides of crowns, see Fig. 1 5. 
* Reading lire for drrc. 

140 S. SOPHIA 

'^ He made also golden vessels for the twelve solemn feasts, 
according to the sacred Gospels: basins {chemiboxeses\ ewers 
{orkiolot)j chalices {diskopoteria\ and patens {diskoi) ; they 
were all of solid gold, set with precious stones and pearls. 
And the number of the sacred vessels was i,ooo ; altar- 
cloths {endutai\ yMi rows of jewels, 300 ; crowns, 100. 
Every festal day had its own chalice covering (poterokalumma). 
There were paten covers {diskokalumtnatd) of gold, with 
pearls and predous stones, to the number of 1,000 ; four- 
and-twenty gospels, each worth two centenaria; thirty-^ix 
censers of solid gold with predous stones ; 300 lamps 
(Juchnitai) weighing forty pounds ; 6,000 candelabra {poly- 
canJela)^ and clustered lights ^ of solid gold, for the ambo, 
the bema, the two gynaecea, and the narthex. 

^* The revenues or 365 farms in Egypt, India, and all the 
East and West were devoted to the maintenance of the 
church. For each holy day was set aside 1,000 measures of 
oil, 300 measures of wine, and 1,000 sacramental loaves. 
Similarly for the daily services, the dergy, including the 
lowest, niunbered 1,000, mth 100 singers divided into 
two for alternate weeks. For the clergy there were cells 
round the building ; fo^ the singers there were two monas- 

^^He made five gold crosses, each weighing 100 pounds, 
which were adorned with all kinds of predous stones, so that 
they were each valued at dght centenaria : also two candle- 
sticks of gold incrusted with pearls and predous stones, 
valued at nve centenaria, as well as two other large carved 
candelabra (manoualia) of gold ; these had golden feet, each 
worth 100 pounds, to stand below the golden candelabra. 
He made fifty pthers too, of silver, of the height of a man, 
to stand by the altar. On the adornment of the ambo and 
solea was spent 100,000 pounds, which was the tribute levied by 
Constantine on Saroboris, King of the Persians, and on many 
others. The whole church with the parts outside and around 
— with the exception of the vessels and ornaments, which 
were given by the emperor— cost 800,000 pounds. 

^^ Now Justinian alone b^an and alone finished the church 

^ Pcrpfwhiy^ ** like bunches of grapes." 


with no other helping him, or even building a part of it. 
Its beauty is wonderful to behold ; all kinds of pearls glitter 
there like the sea, and one seems to see the ever-flowing 
waters of great rivers. Now the four boxmdaries ^ of the 
church he called after the rivers that flowed from Paradise, 
and he made a law that whosoever was excommunicated 
shoxild stand there for his sins. And for the phiale in the 
centre he made twelve arcades, and lions belching out water 
for the people to wash in. On the right side, however, of 
the right-hand gynaeceum, he made a basin (jhalassd) of one 
cubit for the water to Qome up in, and one flight of steps 
(Jklimax) for the priests to cross above the water. He placed 
too in the front of the basin {dexamene) an open tank for the 
rain {ombusia)y and carved twelve lions, twdve pards, twelve 
deer, and eagles, and hares, and calves, and crows, twelve of 
each, and these spouted out the water for the use of the 
priests alone. The place was called the place of the lions 
(Jeontarion) and metatorion, because there was a golden 
couch there, that the emperor might rest on his way to the 
temple. But who can describe the comeliness and beauty 
of the temple, overlaid with resplendent gold from the 
crown to the pavement? 

*< When the temple and the sacred vessels had been all com- 
pleted, on the 24th of December he marched in solemn pomp 
from the palace to the Gate of the Augusteum, opening into 
the Horologium ; and he killed 1,000 oxen, 6,000 sheep, 
500 deer, 1,000 pigs, 1,000 fowls, and gave them to the 
poor and needy, as well as 30,000 measures of wheat. And 
the distribution of these on that day took three hours, and 
then the emperor entered with the cross, and the patriarch 
Eutychius, and at the royal entrance he left the patriarch 
and walked alone to the ambo; then, stretching out his 
hands to heaven, he cried, * Glory be to God who hsk thought 
me worthy to finish this work. Solomon, I have surpassed 
thee.* And when the ceremony was over he distributed 
laigesse, and with the help of Strategius gave away three 
hundred pounds of gold. But on the following day he 
solemnly opened the temple, and killed even more oxen, and 

^ ^rcs, Graeciscd form of the Latin //r^/. 


feasted every one for fifteen days until the feast of Epiphany, 
praising God. In such a way as this was the great work 

" Now the new dome which was built by Justinian, and 
the gorgeous and wonderful ambo, with the solea, and the 
patterned pavement of the nave, lasted seventeen years. But 
after the death of Justinian, his nephew Justin succeeded, and 
in the second year of his reign, and the fifth da^, at the sixth 
hour the dome fell, and destroyed the wonderful ambo with 
the golden supports, and the solea, and all the sardonyx, and 
chdce pearls and sapphires. But the arches, and the colunms, 
and the rest of the building remsdned unhurt. Then the 
emperor sununoned the skilful mastermen, and inquired what 
had caused the fall of the dome. But they answered and 
said to the king, * Your imde took away too qmckly the 
supports {antinux) for the dome, which were of wood, to 
cover it with mosaic ; and made it too high so that it should 
be seen from everywhere, and thus the craftsmen, by destroy- 
ing the scaffolding (jkalosis) before the foundations had been 
su^dently set, caused the fall of the dome.' Thus spake 
they to the king, and they added that if he wished to bmld 
a dome like a hollow cymbal he shoxild foUow his xmde's 
example, and send to Rhodes, and should order bricks made 
in the same way and of the same weight as the previous 
ones. The emperor gave the order, and bricks were brought 
from Rhodes, similar to the previous ones. So once more 
the dome was built, with fifteen fathoms taken from its 
height, and formed like a drum so that it should not agsun 
fall. The supports were left for a year, until they knew that 
the dome had become well set. But the ambo and solea, 
which they were not able to build of an equal magnificence 
to the former ones, they are made of marble, with colmnns 
covered with silver, and there was a silver inclosyre (sMhos)j 
round the solea. But the dome of the ambo he did not 
build again, frightened by the expense. And for the pave- 
ment, as he was not able to find slabs of such beauty and size 
as heretofore, he sent Manasses, a Patridan and Praepositus, 
to Procofmesus, and marble was worked there as is seen 
now, of a green colour, like rivers flowing into a sea. 


^* But when they wished to cut away the scafFolding of the 
dome, and to take away the timbers, they filled up the church 
with water to a height of five cubits, and threw down the 
beams into the water, and thus the lower parts of the walls 
were uninjured. And he covered it all with mosaic. Hence 
there are some who say that Justin, Justinian's nephew, built 
the church, but in this they lie. Let us rather give thanks 
to our God who has willed that the great structure should 
remain imtouched, so that we can enter it, and give the praise 
that is due to Christ ; for He is worthy of all glory, honour, 
power, and worship, now and for ever. Amen.* 


Many of the points in this celebration of the wonders 
of S. Sophia seem to be traceable to the writer's absorbing 
traditions of the work of Basil — ^who built like a goldsmith 
at his new diurch — into his account. In the destructive 
rapacity of the Crusaders and the interregnum that followed 
while they occupied S. Sophia we find such a satisfactory 
cause for this half-mythical retrospect undertaken in all good 
f^th that we cannot think it was written imtil after the 
Prankish ascendency. 

We need not suppose that the Anonymous invented even 
the wildest of these stories ; such stories grow up as a matter 
of course, and to-day various forms of some of them are told 
within the walls of many other buildings. The accounts given 
by the Rus^an pilgrims (see Chapter VI) agree so closely in 
many respects with the Anonymous description that we might 
think the writer had been their guide in the church. That 
the stories were widely told in Constantinople at this time is 
proved by the account of S. Sophia given by El Harawi, an 
Arab traveller, who visited the city in the thirteenth century. 
^^ Here is also Agia Sophia, the greatest church they have. I 
was told by Yakub Ibn Abd Allah that he had entered it : 
within are 360 doors. And they say one of the angels resides 
there ; round about this place they have made fences of gold, 
and the story they relate of him is very strange." ^ 

1 Quoted in Ibn Batqta, Orient. Trans. Socy. 

144 S. SOPHIA 

This story of the angel recalls the Wingless Victory of 
the Athenian acropolis, but it is probably more closely 
related to the ** Angels of the Churches " in the Revelation. 
An interestii^ reference to this thought is made by Palladius 
in his Life of Chrysostom. Before he left S. Soplua for ever 
the patriarch entered it saying, " Come let iis pray and say 
farewell to the Angel of the Church ; ** but, adds his 
biographer, "the Ajigel departed with him.** We give 
here an account of the church from a thirteenth-century 
English MS., in the British Museum, Vit. A. xx. 14, which 
refers to the more commonplace part of the story as told 
by the Anonymous. " That fiunous city is endowed with 
wonderful and inestimable wealth. In it may be seen the 
famous church Agia Sophia, that is the Holy Wisdom ; an 
angel of God appeared and taught the workmen as they 
were bmlding. Underneath the diurch in its cisterns there 
is refreshing water, some of which is salt and some of it i^in- 
water. The church below is borne on one himdred and 
seventy-three columns of marbles, and above on two hundred 
and forty-six. Round the choir from the top to the bottom 
it is covered with silver gilt. And this same choir has an 
altar ^starred* {stellatum) all over with most wonderful 
and precious stones. In the church are lamps of the purest 
silver and gold, and their niunber cannot be counted. The 
church is opened and closed by seven hundred and fifty-two 
double doors, and there are windows innumerable. There 
are seven hundred prebendary priests, of which three hundred 
and fifty take each week in turn. Now the Patriarch of 
Agia Sophia has in that city one hundred metropolitans and 
ardbbishops, and each metropolitan has seven sufiragans in 
the same city." 

The idea of competition with Solomon's Temple and the 
Tabernacle would be sure to suggest itself, and, once received, 
it would be justified by many assertions ; indeed a tendency 
to imitate the bibliod accounts may be detected in the 
Anonymous author. For instance, we have Justinian's 
intention to cover the floor with silver, the description of 
the gold vessels for the altar, and the '^ sea " for the priests. 
Justinian's oft-quoted speech on entering the completed 


chutxih may be assigned to this leading idea, which we find 
expressed as early as the sixth century by Corippus, the poet- 
bishop^ who says, ^^ Pr^se of the temple of Solomon is now 
silenced, and the Wonders of the World have to yield the pre- 
eminence. Two shrines founded by the wisdom of God have 
rivalled Heaven, one the sacred Temple, the other the splendid 
fane of S. Sophia, the Vestibule of the Divme Presence." ^ 
Glycas, who tells many of the stories given by the Anonym- 
ous, continues the idea further. Justmian, he says, set up a 
statue ^^ representing Solomon as looking at the Great Church 
and gnashing his teeth with envy." ^ 

In the Book of Proverbs we read, ^^ Wisdom hath builded 
her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars." This was 
also seized upon, and Michael Psellus speaks of S. Sophia as 
*^the very beautiful temple, the incomparable home which 
the Divine Wisdom built in His own name and which He 
r^sed on seven pillars." ^ Modern writers, Toumefort, Von 
Hammer, &c., have delighted to point out that the church 
has 107 columns ; indeed, with a little humouring, 108 may 
be counted. The symmetrical number of the workmen 
employed according to the Anonymous may be matched in 
a legendary accoimt of the building of S. Luke's, according 
to which there were twenty-four protomaistores, each of 
whom had twenty-four workmen under him. 

The story of Justinian mixing money with the earth is 
parallel to the account, given by Vasari, of Brunelleschi's 
scheme for building the dome of S. Maria del Fiore in 
Florence. It is impossible that the church should have been 
flooded with water, as described by the Anonymous. There 
appears to be no basis for the supposition that the great 
dome was gilt outside. In the texts of Codinus .the dome 
is said to be of ivy-wood (Kiaaffplvos) : this is evidently some- 
body's misreading for pumice-stone (^tcunipiov). 

The stones were actually supped to be spedfics for 
diseases by the Russian pilgrims and others. Clari the 
Knight of Amiens* (1200) speaks "of the Minster 

^ Du Cange, notes on Bondelmontius. 

^ Glycas, Annalium^ Pars y.y ed. Bonn, p. 498. ' Du Cange, op. cit, 

^ Hopf, Chroniques Grico-RmaneSj Berlin, 1873, p. 67. 



(MousHer) of S. Sophia, and the riches which were there. 
.... There are vaults all round over the church, which 
are carried on large columns, very rich ; for there is not a 
column but is of jasper, or porphyry, or some predous 
marble, and every column has a medidnal quality; some 
keep off Alal des rains^ some Mai du fianc^ and other 
diseases : and there is nothing in this minster such as a 
^**^ (g"^^0 or band {yerveUs) generally of iron, which is 
not of silver.** 

Codinus concludes his account of the church with a story, 
which may be classed with a large series, as '^ the gratitude 
of employers to their architects ; *' imprisoning and blinding 
them, or cutting off their hands. It is in a sense one of the 
truest of stories ! The master workman of the great church, 
^* Ignatius {sic)y owing to the great favour which his work 
won for him from the people, was shut up by the emperor in 
his statue in the Augusteum.'* To parallel other tales this 
must be the artist's own work whioi is the instrument of 
his torture. Here he would have died of hunger had it not 
been for his faithful wife, who threw to him a rope 
besmeared with liquid pitch ; afterwards fire destroyed all 
evidence of his flight. 

We have also the customary tales of statues found in the 
round when the church was b^un. Gyllius, quoting from 
uidas, says that Justinian (Uscovered more than seventy 
statues of the Greek deities, the figures of the twelve signs 
of the zodiac, and eighty statues of Christian princes and 
emperors. The travels that bear the name of Sir John 
Mandeville relate that once when an emperor made a grave 
in S. Sophia, ^^ they found a body in the earth, and upon the 
body lay a plate of Rold, that said thus in Hebrew, Greek, 
and Latin, * Jesus Christ shall be bom of the Virgin Mary, 
and I believe in Him.' It was laid there 2,000 years before 
the birth of Christ, and is still preserved in the treasury of 
the church. And they say that it was Hermc^enes, the 

wise man." 

The legends were not forgotten after the taking of the 
church. Sandys, the English traveller, who was in Con<- 
stantinople about 16 10, tdls us that ^^one of the doors was 


famed to be the ark of Noe, and is therefore left bare in 
some places to be kissed by the devoted people,"' and ^* the 
total number of doors was said to be as many as the days 
of the year." 

When this, the church of the world, fell into the hands 
of the Turks, many stories came to the West, or arose there 
without coming. The poetry of the Fall required the 
miraculous salvation of the priest celebrating mass, and the 
prophecy of his return as told by Theo. Gautier. It also 
required a massacre in the church, the ndins in of the proud 
conqueror, and the mark of his blood-stained hand, which 
indeed is still pointed out some twenty feet above the pave- 
ment ! Mijatovich, in his history of the last of the emperors, 
r^;ards the massacre as unhistorical. 

An English romance almost contemporary with the Fall 
tells us how the Turks took possession. 


For to let theyr hawkys fly 
In the chirch of Saint Sofy." 

L 2 



Sancta Sophia seems really to have been in a dangerous 
condition when, in 1847, the Sultan Abdul Mesjid b^an a 
much-needed work of reparation which was carried on under 
the guidance of the Italian architect Fossati, who appears to 
have taken great pains, and notwithstanding some alterations 
and '* restorations " in the worst sense he deserves our 
gratitude for probably saving the building. In the preface 
to his lithograph views published in London in 1852 he says, 
^^ The portions of the building that looked most threatening 
were reconstructed, and the lead roofs were repsdred. The 
dome was relieved of four heavy buttress arches, whose 
function was taken by a double ceincture of iron around its 
base. Thirteen columns of the gynaeceum, which were 
inclining under the thrust of the great arches that support 
the dome, were put straight again.'* The marble work of 
the interior was cleaned, and the gold mosaic vaults were 
cleared of the crust of limewash which concealed them. 
All representations of figures were however covered again. 
The sultan's tribune was built, Fossati says, ^^in the 
Byzantine style." The walls outside, after being repaired, 
were covered with a coating of plaster on which red stripes 
were painted. 

Since this time various remains of the Great Court, which 
existed as late as 1873, have entirely disappeared, and the 
broad bare space, in front of the exonarthex, has little now 
to recall the atrium with its fountain and quadriporticus. 

All study of the church in its condition at that time must 


be based oti the exhaustive plates and text of Salzenberg.^ 
M. Texier had in 1834 in^c some drawings at Constan- 
tinople, which are now preserved in the library of the Royal 
Institute of Architects ; and several coincidences seem to 
point to Salzenberg's having had the use of Texier*s ground 
plan. In any case Texier was the first to make correct plans 
including the upper floor, also the atrium, baptistery, and the 
circular building at the north-east. As Salzenberg made full 
use of the unique opportunity afforded by the scaflFolding, 
when the building was given over to the workmen, we have 
thought it wise to give a condensed paraphrase of his 
account where it is descriptive of the structure, even at 
the risk of some repetition. Our remarks in other places 
where they may overlap are the result of our own observa- 
tion, from different points of view. The rest of this chapter 
is an abridgment of Salzenberg's text and descriptive of his 
plates, and we add nothing unless in notes or square brackets. 

Design. — ^The exterior walls of the atrimn, with several 
entrances, were built of brick, but the inner sides had marble 
colunms between square brick piers, two columns to one pier. 
These carried semicircular ardhes. The atrium walks, as 
renuuns showed, were barrel-vaxilted, and the vaxilts were 
formerly covered with mos^c The parts for which there was 
evidence remaining are shown in darker hatching in Salzen- 
berg's plate vi. The outer wall on the north side, with 
several arched openings ; and traces of the western boundary 
still existed. 

The long vestibule in front of the narthex has groined 
vaulting, and large windows in its west wall ; there are some 
Turkish additions to this part. A door fi^om each lateral 
cloister, and two others from the open atrium, led into it. 
On either side of the two doors from the court are strong 
projecting piers, connected above by a wide arch, forming a 
porch-like shelter over the doors. These four piers rise 
above the roof of the vestibule.^ 

^ JltcMstlkhe Baudenkmale von Constantinopeiy published by the 
Prussian Government, Berlin 1854, with metrical version of the Silentiary's 
poem by Dr. K5rtum. 

* Salzenberg here suggests that these formerly supported equestrian 
statues. Sec his plates ix.-xii. and compare our fig. 29. 


Double tiers of buttress arches spring from each of these 
piers to the west wall of the church. A close exanunarion of 
the wall and piers led to the conviction that they are not 
contemporary with the church, but were built later, though 
partly of old material.^ The upper cornices for instance 
difier. [Modifications here can be explained by removal of 
Bell Tower, see p. 1 94.] The piers were probably erected 
by Byzantine builders, to strengthen the western vaxilt. 

Five doors lead to the narthex, the windows of which are 
above the roof of the outer vestibule. The walls are covered 
with marble, and the vaulting with mosaic ; while the walls 
and ceiling of the exonarthex, are quite plain. Two other 
doors enter the narthex at its north and south ends, and nine 
lead from it into the church; the large central entrance 
bdng the Royal Door. 

The walls of the church form approximately a square, 
the length of which in the interior, exclusive of the apse, is 
241 feet, and the breadth 224.^ 

The dome measures 100 feet across from the edge 
of the cornice, but above the cornice the vaulted space is 
104 feet across ; it is 179 feet from the floor to the vertex, 
The dome rises above the square area on four huge arches, 
with a lai^e semidome to the east and another to the west, 
each of which embraces three smaller spans. The lateral 
openings wluch thus pierce the east and western semidomes 
are covered by conchs^ but the middle opening in each case 
has a cylindrical vault, that to the east being prolonged into 
the eastern apse. 

At the comers of the central square of the nave rise four 
large piers, which are joined by arches to four buttress piers 
in the northern and southern walls behind them. The 
arched openings connect the three parts into wluch the aisles 
are divided by the piers. On either side of each of the 
central openings from the eastern and western hemicydes 
rise other piers, which are pierced by narrow arched 
passages, running from north to south. The piers, eight 

^ Salz. XX., figs. 9 and 10. 

' All dimensions in this chapter are in Prussian feet, ioo of which -« 
103 English, 


altogether, carry the whole vaulting of the nave, as well as 
a part of that of the side susles. Between the middle 
divi^on of each aisle and the n&ve are four large columns 
with five arches on the ground floor, and on the first floor 
six smaller columns with seven arches. Above again is a 
wall with windows, filling up the great arches on &e north 
and south sides under the dome. Each exedra has, on the 
ground floor, two lai^e columns with three arches, and, on 
the floor above, six small colunms with seven arches. 

The vaxilt of each division of the aisles is supported on 
four colunms. Those next the east and west walls of the 
church, eight in all, are square, the others are round. The 
di\dsions of the galleries follow those of the aisles underneath. 
The four main piers however were pierced by additional 
arched openings [now filled up] between the galleries and 
the nave. The part over the narthex opens to the nave by 
three arches, on coupled columns. Above is the immense 
semirdrcular window which fills up the central barrel vault at 
the western end. 

All the openings towards the nave in the upper aisles 
have marble parapets. The vaulting of the lower aisles rests 
on forty round columns and dght square ones, and in the 
galleries on sixty round columns, not including the coupled 
columns at the west ; this makes in all a hundred round 
columns. Pos^bly the eight square pillars in the aisles were 
employed, so that this number should not be exceeded. 

In the walls are numerous lai^e windows, and the dome 
is pierced by forty just above the cornice ; thus light streams 
into the church from every quarter. Much of the dome, 
including the central drcle of mosaic at the crown, can be 
seen from the Royal Door. 

The greater number of the buildings which formerly 
surrounded the church are either destroyed, or so altered by 
Turkish minarets and buttresses that it is difficult to conjec- 
ture their original form.^ 

On the north and south of the narthex are long porches 
of Byzantine workmanship, with cylindrical vaxilts. In the 
northern one is a flight of fourteen steps leading down from 

^ See Stlz., plate vi. 

152 S. SOPHIA 

outside to the narthex. The southern porch is called by 
Von Hammer the Vestibule of the Warriors. It is mentioned 
by Nicetas as the place where the Archangel Michael was 
represented in mosaic. It was through this porch that the 
emperor passed to the church, and here some of the body- 
guard would remain. The vaulting still bears the remwis of 
mosaics which are now covered up. 

On the east sides' of both the northern and southern 
porches are accesses to the gynaeceum, formed of a series of 
inclined planes. The entrance to the northern one is from 
the porch^ but the southern stair is reached* from a narrow 
passage between it and the baptistery. To the west of the 
northern and southern porches, in the angles between them 
and the outside walls of the atrium, are the two minarets 
built by Murad III. 

On the first-floor level, above the southern porch and 
part of the adjacent staircase, is a series of chambers,^ of 
which the purpose is not known. The walls of the two 
larger chambers are covered with marble, and- their ceilings 
with mossdc 

Only one stsurway is now extant at the east. The 
minaret built by Mahomed II., which helps to buttress the 
south-east comer of the church, occupies the position of a 
second. Salzenbei^'s Plate xiv. shows the stairway restored, 
but in Plate xiii. the northern one is removed to expliun the 
arrangement of the part of the building to the south of it. 
' On entering at the door of this north-eastern stsdrway one 
can either mount the ascending planes which wind round a 
well for . light, or go to the left through a small lobby into 
the church. On the right steps ascend to the round building 
adjacent. The light * well ' once ascended the whole height 
of the staircase, which seems to have been formerly still 
higher, as the eastern wall of the church, which is here 
prolonged northwards, rises about four feet above the present 
roof of the stairway, and shows the remains of a window. 
These stairways may have been built by Andronicus Palaeo- 
l(^us in the fourteenth century, when he erected the buttress 
masses which are called pyramids by Nicephorus Gregoras 

^ Salz., plate vii. 


All these stairways however were additions to the building, 
probably built when the dome abutments were strengthened. 
The original staircases to the gynaeceum were in the four 
{Hers by the northern and southern walls of the church, and 
the steps from the gynaeceum to the base of the dome still 

In the eastern buttress pier on the south side is a portion 
of one of the original staircases, leading downwards from 
the gynaeceum, though beneath on the ground floor there is 
now a vaulted passage.^ In the western buttress pier on the 
south side, at the ground-floor level, b a vaulted passage 
adorned with mosuc, and a door leading to an e3ctemal 
addition. In the similar position on the gynaeceum level, 
the staircase, which formerly led hifi;her, has been destroyed, 
to make a way to the upper floor or this same late annex. 

The south-east porch may have been used by the emperors 
on non-festal days, as it was close to the southern aisle 
where they sat. Three columns are now placed on each 
side of this porch ; the two outer ones are of porphyry, and 
have capitals with a de^n of a basket and doves.' These 
capitals are fine Byzantine work, although the arch above 
may be Turkish. Here seven steps descend into the church. 
The other porch on the north of the east end was destroyed 
at the last restoration to make an entrance for the Sultan. 
Remains of a series of chambers can still be traced on the 
east side between the porches : their Tooh must have been 
below the lower unndows of the eastern wall. The 
chambers are now built up ; but thdr original plan may be 
conjectured from the lead saddle-roofs, which have gutters 
that conduct the rainwater through the outer wall. Two 
doors from the porches, and two doors from the church — 
all four now blocked up— show the previous communication 
with this row of chambers, which probably contained the 
priests' vestments, and the vessels for the altar. 

Amongst the buildings that surrounded the church must 
be mentioned the skeuophylakium,in which was kept the sacred 
furniture. Here were placed biers for the state funerals : 

^ Salz., plates vii., viii., and illustration of stairs in text. 
• Salz., plate vi, • Ibid,^ plate xx. 

154 S. SOPHIA 

conspicuous amongst them was one quite covered with 
gold, the gift of Studios and Stephanos. This probably was 
the isolated round building at the north-east or the church, 
reached by the stejps previously mentioned. It now has two 
floors of wood ; for security there were no windows, but 
only twelve niches in the wall, in one of which is the door. 
This building now serves as a storehouse for the army 
kitchen (imareh) adjacent, and is much injured. Windows 
have been made in the walls, and the door altered.^ 
The baptistery [south-west building] is square outside, but 
octagonal with four niches within. It is vaulted by a 
dome without ribs. On the east side is an apse, and on the 
west a porch. The Anonymous says that the baptistery was 
formerly called the Chapel of S. John, and that it was built 
by Justinian. [Entrance to this is now obtained by a door, 
which has been pierced in its north-eastern angle. The 
western wall has a semidrcular-headed opemng, of the same 
»ze as the niches, leading to a narthex or vestibule to which 
there is now no access from the out^de.] 

In addition to the western entrance, a door on the north, 
now blocked up, led through an openr porch into a small 
court. The large cylindrical arch of this porch had a screen 
at its northern side, the columns and door-fraihe ^ of which 
are still extant, but the marble lattice is destroyed. Throiigh 
an arch in the east wall of tUs porch the adcUtion which was 
made outside the south-west buttress pier could be reached, 
where there was a passage into the church. Salzenberg*s 
plan ^ of this addition is taken at the level of a landing 
reached by a staircase from the passage through the south- 
west buttress pier. This landing seems at one time to have 
been connected with a chamber above the north porch of the 
baptistery, and from thence with the stairway at the south-west 
angle of the church. Leading upwards from this landing is 
the original stsurcase to the gynaeceum, and at this level 
there is a small chapel vaulted with a cupola.^ The vault is 

1 Only a short time was allowed to Salzenberg for its examination. 
He was convinced it was not a baptistery, but gives no reasons. 
* Salz^ plate xviii., figs. 9, 13. 
» Salz., plate vi, * Salz., plate vii. 


adorned with mosaic ; figures of angels stand in the four pen- 
dentives. Originally the chapel was not lighted ; but at 
the last ^* restoration " a hole was made in the roof, which 
was filled with glass ; a passage from this chapel to the 
Kynaeceum is probably Turkish. The chapel is supposed 
by the Greeks to be the one into which the officiating priest 
disappeared at the capture by the Turks. 

The Turks turned the baptistery into a storeroom 
for the oil used in lighting the church, but on the sudden 
death of the Sultan Mustapha I. it was converted into a 
turbeh. Almost the whole of the church is rdsed above 
vaulted cisterns. An opening in the south idsle ^ gives access 
to the water, and there is another opening in the north- 
west exedra. The depth of the water prevented a close 

Of the two additions made in Byzantine times to the 
centre of the north and south walls on the outside, and 
intended to buttress the aisles, the southern one has been 
further lengthened by the Turks. To preserve the use of 
the door and window in the wall of the church, each addition 
was pierced by a passage. Remains of stairways and side 
passages have also been found here.^ Other renmns of 
buildings existed on the north and south sides of the church, 
but they were too insufficient to base any conclusions on 

Materials* — ^The principal materials employed are brick, 
and a kind of peperino stone. The latter is used in those 
parts of the building which have to stand great pressure, 
such as the four large piers in the nave, the piers to east and 
west, and the extra projections from the buttress piers in the 
side aisles and gyhaeceum. In addition a horizontal course 
two feet deep runs round the whole building four feet from 
the floor. 

The outside walls of the original building, like the 
vaulting, were entirely of brick, but in the later additions 
they are formed of alternate layers of brick and stone, and 
some of the later buttress masses are almost entirely of stone. 

The bricks are as a rule about fourteen inches long and 

1 Salz., plate vi. * Salz., plates vi., x. 


156 ^. SOPHIA 

two inches thick ; some vaulting bricks brought from the 
ruins by the porch on the east measured fourteen inches 
square and two inches thick; on one side of them were 
scratched lines probably made by the three fingers of the 
maker, and on the other was an oblong label inclosing an 
inscription (i) ; another had a diilerent inscription (2) ; 
and a third, not from this vault, but of the same size, 
was also inscribed (3). 

+KOCT +HEr<» jt*;''"" ■ 

[(i) Reads Constantius or G)nstantine. (2^ May be 
rendered ** the church which is being erected," by reading 
a partidple of iyeCfm for the second and tlurd letter. (3; 
This is also given in the Revue Archeologique^ 1876, mxk 
some slight diiierences in second and third lines ; it is there 
said to have been found between SS. Sophia and Irene. It 
probably reads, *^ Lord, help Philemon : Indiction 7.*' The 
two first vowels of Philemon have changed places, and the 
contraction form after *MNA '* is also turned the wrong 

At the base of the dome the bricks are 27 x 9 inches, 
and two inches thick. Some appear to be twenty-6even 
inches square ; but at the apex of the dome, by the hole 
intended for the lamp-chain, the thickness is twenty-four 
inches. There was no trace of the light bricks made in 
Rhodes which the Anonymous mentions ; although in. the 
pendentives a light substance, whitish, unth impressions of 
plants in it, was used in irregular masses. The mortar 
has a red coloiu*, and was eviaently mixed yMx crushed 
brick ; the joints are from one to two inches thick. 

The marble of Proconnesus, which somewhat resembles 
the architectural marble of Gurara, is employed for the 
cornices, capitals, and bases of the columns, and for the 

In Salxenberg's plans the materials are expressed by 
different depths of tint ; the darkest being marble, slightly 
lighter is stone, and a still lighter brickwork ; the additional 


buUdines are represented in the lightest tones, and the 
Turkish buildings with strokes and dots. 

CtmsfrucHon. — ^The out^de walls average a height of 
seventy feet : those on the north and south have a thickness 
of three and a half feet, that on the east is four and a half 
feet, and that on the west between the nave and narthex five 
feet. Where the arches rest on the walls there are piers 
which project about two feet: thus the west wall, for instance, 
has in parts a thickness of seven feet. As a general rule, 
the interior vaults of wide span continue through the walls, 
and appear as arches on the out^de face. The window and 
door openings are semicircular. The marble finishings were 
inserted after the completion of the walls. 

The dome at first sight seems to rest upon four arches 
each of 100 feet span ; it is, however, only on the east and 
west that these arches are open. From north to south the 
m^n piers are 106 feet apart, and their breadth in this 
direction is fifteen feet dght inches ; but on either side of 
the nave there are projections, narronring the opening to icx> 
feet, and giving the open arches abutments of eighteen feet 
eight inches. 

Behind each of these main piers again, at a distance of 
twenty-nine and a half feet from them, stands one of the 
buttress or staircase piers, which, including the outside wall, 
is seventeen feet four inches by twenty-four and a half feet 
in area. Round arches, which appear below the vaults, 
transmit the thrust of the great arches from the main piers 
to these buttressing piers. Above these each of the immense 
buttress masses which stand right across the aisles, and 
rise to within eighteen feet of the springing of the dome, 
bear upon two relieving arches of difiFerent radii, so as not 
to load the vaulting beneath.^ 

^ It 18 probable, writes Salzenberg, that originally the buttress masses 
reached only up to the roof of the gynaeceum, level with the springing 
of the great arches ; as Cedrenus describes how Justinian, at the restora- 
tion after the fall of the dome, made outside the building, in the 
neighbourhood of the main piers, above the roof of the gynaeceum four 
staircases, ^ cochleas " which reached up to the dome *' to strengthen 
the vaulting." Theophanes also speaks of new piers which Justinian 
erected to strengthen the dome. The circumstances mentioned by 


The cylindrical arches, which, at the ground-floor aisles 
and the gynaeceum, connect the great piers with the outer 
buttress piers, are each reinforced by two extra arches, 
standing on stone additions to the main piers, from which 
they project five feet.^ These arches, though thus 
strengthened, are almost all out of shape; those by the 
two northern main piers have been pushed out nearly 
fifteen inches. 

A drawing given in Salzenberg's text shows the south 
arch which supports the dome with the mosaics removed. 
The piers from east to west are seventy-two feet apart, and 
accordingly the span of the arch is seventy-two feet, its 
soflSte being fifteen feet eight inches. The arch is five feet 
deep, formed of two unconnected rings, and on each side 
the lower part is laid in horizontal courses so that the 
portion with radiating joints is only three quarters of the 
whole arch. The window wall which fills the arch opening 
is four feet thick, and is bonded with the horizontal 
courses, but a movement of the arches has caused a fissure, 
which is shown in the diagram. These window walls on 
the south and north sides have cracked in several places. 
The upper part of the urindow wall on the north side is 
only twenty-nine inches thick. The \rindows have been 
reduced and strengthened by inserting stone jambs. 

On the north and south side are also two lai^e arches, 
which project on the inside three feet from the window wall 
and rest on the main jners, having the same height and span 
as the arches on the east and west. They complete the 

Procopitts seem to indicate that the abutments of the great arches were 
not sufficient. See our chap, x^ § i, for another interpretation. 

^ These Salzenberg thought later additions, ** for the stone projections 
are not bonded to the piers, and the Silentiary says columns stood in these 
positions." We do not so interpret the lines of the poem, and, although 
Choisy here follows Salzenberg, it is impossible to see, if there were 
additions subsequent to the completion of the buildings how it is that 
the perfectly symmetrical disposition of the marble panelling shows no 
disturbance, and the beautiful carved cornice which mitres round these 
projections has had no additions made to it (our Fig. 47). The straight 
joints, which Choisy in another place specially notes as a method of 
Byzantine building, were here most wisely applied ; for on one side the 
great pier was of stone, and on the other the buttress pier is of brick. 


Suare form under the cornice of the dome, and give the 
Ki that the dome is carried on four arches of 100 feet span : 
whereas in reality, as has just been shown, the real support- 
ing arches on the north and south side are concealed in the 
window wall, and are not suggested in any way in the 
interior decoration, being only visible on the outside.^ 

The four principal piers are very carefully built of shaped 
stones, the joints, according to Procopius, being run with 
lead, but the Silentiary mentions a cement as being used 

The hdght from the floor to the springing of the great 
arches is seventy-three feet. 

The arches of seventy-two feet span have abutments of 
twenty-four and a half feet, which are increased above the 
vaults of the gynaeceum to twenty-nine feet. 

The great arches under the springing of the dome are 
about four bricks, or five feet, thick. The depth at the top, 
including the cornice of the dome, is about six feet and 
three quarters. The centre of the arches is two and a half 
feet above the springing, so that they are more than semi- 
circular. In the internal angles formed by them are the 
four pendentives. The conuce has a projection of about 
two feet nine inches. The lead mentioned by the ^lentiary 
may be found in the interstices of its stones. 

The dome springs from the cornice on forty piers, about 
three feet five inches broad on the inside, and about dght 
and a half feet deep in the direction of the radius. They 
are connected by arches which form windows four feet nine 
inches wide. On the out^de the piers project beyond the 
arches, and may perhaps at one time have been connected 
with other araies, forming a drum for the dome : mthm 
they form part of the ribs of the dome. 

In the interior the ribs project at the springing six inches 
from the surface of the dome, which is there twenty-nine 
inches tluck, but their projection gradiially diminishes, till 

^ Salzenberg conjectures from A^thias that these arches were a later 
addition made when the dome was restored by Justinian. But without 
them, as he remarks, there would not have been originally a square base 
for the circle of the dome. See explanation of original form, p. 210. 

i6o S. SOPMIA 

they are lost in the great circle of thirty-seven and a half 
feet diameter in the centre. In the interior from rib across 
to rib is 104 feet, so that all round on the cornice is the 
passage two feet nine inches wide, which, according to Paulus, 
was used by the lamplighter. The dome rises forty-six feet 
nine inches above this gangway, so that it is conaderably less 
than a semicircle in section. The original dome, accorcUng 
to Agathias, must have been even flatter. Theophanes 
states the increase in height to have been twenty ftetj 
and Zonoras twenty-five.^ 

The dome has now many swelline^s and depressions which 
are not visible from the ground. At the same time we see 
how immovable domed vaulting is, if only its supports 
remain uninjured. 

At the east and west ends of the nave the two cylindrical 
vaults are each forty-seven feet across. They rest on the 
four lesser piers, and have an abutment of fifteen and a half 
feet. The four exedras are each forty-one feet across. All 
the oonchs and semidomes have drums outside, which are 
pierced by the windows. The conchs which cover the exedras 
have strong arches, where they intersect the semidomes. 
The weight of the exedra conchs is chiefly supported by 
the colunms ; the upper columns of the south-east exedra, 
at the time of the last restoration, were much inclined, and 
had to be brought back to the vertical, by propping the 
arches, cutting away the old bases, and inserting new piecesf 
— ^the columns being surrounded and suppcuted by wooden 
cradling. The thickness of the western barrel vault is four 
feet ; the eastern apse is about three feet thick. The 
western semidome received an additional thickness at the 

Vaulnng of the Aisles. — ^The three prindpal divisions of 
each aisle are covered by domical vaults. The vault arches 
rest partly on columns ; and the spaces between these 
columns and the outside wall are also vaulted. The middle 
division of the north and south aisles has two domical 
vaults, separated by a barrel vault that opens towards the 

^ Salzenbcrg assumes from Paulus that ** the dome was surmounted by 
a cross " : the cross was of mosaic inside. 


nave arches, and to the window in the outside wall. The 
arches have iron ties four inches thick, which stretch from 
the outer wall to the columns of the nave, and grip them 
tightly. The four columns in the aisles which carry the 
vault are much lower than those between the aisles and 
nave, and for this reason the narrow vaulted space, which 
joins the aisle vault to the nave arcade, is formed by a 
stilted quadrant. 

This arrangement only applies to the lower aisles : above 
is a stilted cylindrical vault, running lengthways between 
the main gynaeceum vaults, and the arcade towards the 
nave.^ Here, be^des the iron ties, there are wooden beams. 

The large arches in the aisles are twenty-nine and a half 
feet from column to column. The domical vaulting of the 
aisles is very flat — vl combination of cross gi'oining and a 
dome. For, though it starts with angles at the four comers, 
it gradually merges into a dome at the apex. The vaulting 
bricks are arranged in horizontal circles.^ A diagonal band 
of mosaic starts from each corner, and merges into a central 
circle.' In the gynaeceum the vaulting is higher and consists 
of spherical domes, the radii being half the diagonals 
of the spaces covered. The mosaic decoration here again 
follows the form.* 

Narthex. — ^The narthex is covered with, vaults, similar to 
those of the lower aisles of the nave. Each vaulted space 
is separated from the next by a segmental arch, six and 
a half feet wide with a span of twenty-six and a half feet, 
which abuts on the west wall of the nave, and the piers 
of the outer wall. The vault spaces vary from sixteen and 
a half feet in the middle to thirteen and a half feet towards 
the ends. The piers of the outer wall are connected together 
by arches above the window openings, and the spaces below 

^ See Salz., plate x. The right-hand side is a section through one o£ 
the domical vaalts, and the left through the barrel-vault which connects 
two domical vaults. The plans, plates vi. and vii., and the section plate xi.^ 
show how close some of the columns stand to the piers, to which they 
are joined by small barrel- vaults, intersecting the domical vaulting. 

' A mistake for vertical circles ; the large number of cisterns where 
the vaults are uncovered make this certain. See our p. 291. 

' Salz., plate xxiv. ^ Salz., plate xxiii. 


1 62 S. SOPHIA 

the windows are filled up with thin ^ screen ' walls. The 
upper floor of the narthex is covered i^th a semidrcular 
vault, intersected by the window arches between the piers 
of the outer wall. These piers are the continuation of those 
beneath, and have a width of six feet, and a depth of seven. 
They had to bear the thrust of the barrel vault of twenty- 
six and a half feet span : the buttresses previously mentioned, 
springing from the piers of the propylaeum, were sub- 
sequently added to strengthen them. 

In the exonarthex there are cross groins i^th arches 
between. The arches have a span of fourteen and a half 
feet and an abutment of seven feet. This seems to be of a 
later construction than the rest of the vaulting, and not 
improbably, as well as the piers, belongs to a reconstruction 
of this porch, undertaken to strengthen the west wall of the 

All the arches of the nave which stand on columns have 
iron ties ; and to the three large openings of the gynaeceum 
at the west end of the nave there are wooden binders as 
well. In the lower rows of windows beneath the dome on 
both the north and south sides of the nave iron ties can be 
seen, which seem to stretch across the whole width of the 
large arches which support the dome. 

Roofs. — ^All the exterior vaults are covered with lead 
about a quarter of an inch thick, wluch rests on a layer of 
wooden battens placed immediately upon the brick vaults. 
There are several passages and staircases for access to the 
roofs. Access to the exterior of the side aisles and narthex 
is gained by the staircases in the buttress piers : the stairs are 
supported on brick arches. In the north-east pier the stair 
space is only four feet eight inches by six feet seven inches, 
and in this are jplaced the nights of stairs two feet eight inches 
uride, with a space of fifteen inches between.^ At the top 
of each flight spaces are hollowed out in the wall, which 
serve as landings from one flight to another. 

These stsdrs ascend above the roofs of the side ^sles to 
the upper part of the buttress piers, from which open 
passages, with breast-walls on either side, lead above the 

^ See figure in Salzenberg't text. 


buttress piers to the angles at the base of the dome. 
There were two flights of steps leading to the platform of 
the dome : one of these on the south-east, which Salzenberg 
shows dotted in Plate viii., is still quite preserved, though 
injured at the upper end ; remsuns too can still be traced 
of the north-west stair, A door now built up, on the north 
side of the south-east stair, and remsuns of vaulting in the 
north-west stair, seem to show that other passages must 
have existed. 

The roof of the cylindrical vaulting at the west end of 
the nave is reached by means of stsurs in the small round 
towers, which flank it on the outside.^ These turrets can 
also be reached from the roof of the narthex. Another 
passage runs along under the narthex roof at the west (Salz., 
Plate ix.), which has an opening close to the upper surface of 
the vaulting, and from thence any part above the nave can be 
reached. Probably this was formerly used for the lighting 
of the church. To reach the cornice at the foot of the 
dome there was an opemng in the wall under one of the 
dome windows: ^ * 

Decoraiive Work. — ^All the constructional forms were 
shown boldly on the outside without any adornment ; the 
west front of the narthex next to the atrium was alone 
covered with slabs of Proconnesian marble, some of which are 
still preserved, but the upper wall surfaces were perfectly 

In the interior the whole of the walls are plated with 
rare variegated marbles, and the vaults are covered with 
glass mosaic Two chief masses of colour in the nave are 
separated horizontally by a cornice, and another cornice 
forms the springing for the vaulting. There are also 
cornices at the root of the dome, and around the walls of 
the aisles. All these are of carved white marble in simple 
profiles. The lower range of arch spandrils between the 
[ners of the nave b formed of slabs of white marble 
completely covered with carving : the upper spandrils above 
the gynaeceum arches have sectile work of coloured 
marbles. The carving is sharply cut, but conforms very 

^ Salz., plate xi. 

M 2 

i64 S. SOPHIA 

closely to the general surfaces ; according to the old 
descriptions it was gilt, and remains of colour still extant 
show some of the leaf-ornament coloured with a dark 

Columns. — ^Amongst the columns are beautiful examples 
of the dark green'' Thessalian marble, now called verde antico. 
Of this are formed all the round columns in the nave and 
ground-floor aisles, with the exception of the eight in 
the four exedras, which are of dark Theban porphyry. 
It could not have been always possible to find a sufficient 
niunber of columns of the same height and diameter, and 
the transport of them must have been frequently accom- 
panied by injuries of one kind or another. There are 
differences between similarly situated columns, and in 
many cases mended fractures appear on the surface of 
the marble. In no cases are antique capitals placed on these 
columns. All the capitals and oases are of Proconnesian 
marble, and were wrought by Byzantine chisels. 

The greater part of the capitals are similar in design, 
though their size varies in proportion to the height of die 
columns which support them. Salzenberg, in Figs, i and 3 
of his Plate xv., ^ows one of the capitals of the great 
order. The leaf-work on them — ^partly acanthus and partly 
palm — is very deeply undercut, and lies almost clear of the 
groimd underneath. In the middle of front and back are 

Under the capitals are bronze rings eleven and half inches 
high ; each is composed of three members, with a wrought 
lode on the side towards the nave, on which is repeated the 
mon(^ram of each capital. At the foot of the columns 
above the bases are similar rings nine inches high. These 
rings occur on all the old columns, with the exception of the 
two dual columns of the west gallery. They seem to be let into 
the shaft, and, according to the description of the Silentiary, 
they were gilded In addition to these rings, there are on 
other columns — ^as, for instance, the porphyry columns of the 
exedras — simple rings, rectangular in section, in positions 
where cracks and injuries appear ; there being three or four 

^ Preparation for the gold. 


such rings on a column at different heights. It is possible 
that some of these are of Turkish origin. 

The bases as a rule have much the same form as the 
Attic base; the porphyry columns of the exedras have 
pedestals^ below them, because the shafts were not long 

Each of the great verde antique shafts has a height of 
twenty-five and a half feet, and the bronze base-ring has an 
inside diameter of three feet seven inches. The capital is 
three feet ten inches high, and the upper part five feet eight 
inches wide, the whole height, including, base and capital, 
being thirty-three and a half feet. 

The porphyry colunms of the western exedras have a 
total height of thirty-one feet ; the shafts are twenty-two 
feet and three-quarters long, and the diameter at the bottom 
is three feet one inch. The capital is four feet high, and the 
abacus above measures towards the nave four feet nine inches, ' 

and towards the aisles four feet eleven inches. In the 
direction of the thickness of the arch the side of the \ 

abacus measures five feet, the variation being due to the j 

circular plan of exedras. 

The columns of the upper storey, which separate the 1 

gynaeceiun and the nave, also of verde antique, stand nearer 
to one another and are smaller than those below. The total | 

height of those in the middle division is twenty-two feet 
five inches ; those in the exedras are twenty-one feet, with a 
diameter at the bottom of two and a quarter feet. The 
capitals are three and a half feet high, and the bases, including j 

a six-inch bronze ring, two feet one inch.^ 

The parapet is three feet ten inches high, and of white 
marble.^ It stands between the columns, and like them is 
set on a stylobate one foot six inches high, above the lower 
cornice. It should be noticed how the wide vaulting of 
the aisles is contrived, so as not to interfere with the view 
through the arched openings of the lower range of columns. 

The columns in the interior of the groimd-floor aisles 

^ Salzenberg's plate xv., Eg. 6. The inclination of the sides of that 
shown is much exaggerated, if in any case it exists. 
' Salz., plate xvi., fig. I9 5. ' Plate xvi., figs. 5, 6. 

1 66 S. SOPHIA 

are about twenty-foiir feet seven inches high. These capitals 
are sinular to those already described. Those in the interior 
of the ^ynaeceum, with shafts of Proconnesian marble, have 
capitals of quite another form.^ They are very similar to 
others in the church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus ; the twin 
columns in the gynaeceum at the west end of the nave have 
similar capitals ; the columns being verde antique. In these 
capitals, however, the volutes are not arrangol diagonally, 
but show ^* cushions *' at the side. 

The capitals in the atrium resembled those of the twin 
columns ; though the cushion was shorter and the top had 
less projection, and it was crowned with a flat ^g and 
tongue moulding. The capitals and shafts were of white 
marble. The beautiful square capitals of the eight square 
white marble pillars in the aisles are shown in Salzenberg's 
Plate xvi. 

The arches of the great otder'have an elaborate leaf- 
ornament round them, continuing above the capitals in a 
horizontal line, resembling in fact an architrave. [In the 
centre above each capital is a cross, and at the crown of the 
arch is a four or six-armed cross.] The spandrils are filled 
with acanthus-ornament, and in the centre of each is a disc 
of coloured marble — surrounded by a carved drcle in the 
white marble. The ornament of the intrados of the arches 
consists of five divisions in the width : these are covered with 
a continuous pattern, seven slabs casing the intrados of 
the arch. [The five bands are only carved alternately, the 
centre and lateral ones being plain.] See our Fig. 50. 

The respond on the msdn pier at each end of this arcade 
is a kind of pilaster strip,^ surmounted by a capital in low 
relief, and surrounded by a notched border. 

The two cornices running round the nave, which serve as 
galleries for the lamplighters, have an extremely simple profile. 
The slanting under-surface, divided horizontally by a row of 
beads, has acanthus-leaves in the upper part forming a cym- 
atium, and in the lower modillions carved with ivy and 

^ Salz., plate xvii., figs. 12 and 13. Fig. ogives the base, fig. 2 a com- 
plete column. 
• Salz., plate xv., figs. 7, 8. 


acanthus, and between them, panels with difierent leaf- 
ornaments. Beneath the aisle cornice is a frieze of marble 
mosaic The base mouldings or skirtings are worked out of 
thin slabs.^ 

Saizenbei^'s Plate xx. contains a collection of archi- 
tectural det^s, which seem to belong to different periods ; 
Figs I, 2, 3 represent one of the white marble capitals 
which adorn the two porphyry coliunns of the south-east 
porch. The arch above them is Turldsh, and hence it may 
be questioned if this was their original position : they seem 
more intended for an ornamental structure than to support a 
load, and they may perhaps have belonged to a dborium 
above the holy table. The two marble capitals (Figs. 4 and 
5), only three inches thick, were found in the chamber in the 
north-east buttress mass, above the gynaeceum roof, together 
with broken pieces from a window. They may originally 
have belonged to the upper part of the building^, such as the 
window wall under the north arch of the dome.^ The work- 
manship is very different from that in the rest of the church, 
and is mdtt closely allied with ancient treatment. Perhaps 
they are fragments from the earlier church which found a 
fresh application in Justinian's building. The parapet pillars 
between the twin columns of the western gynaeceum, with 
tall pedestals, are each formed in one piece of verde antique. 
Their capitals resemble those of the windows,* with the 
exception that the former are rounded imderneath instead of 
being square. 

^ See Salz., plate xv., figs. i» 4, S for lower cornice ; plate xvi., 2 and 3 
for upper, figs. 3, 4 for dome cornice, fig. 9 aisle cornice. This last, says 
Salzenberg, ** is mended in many places with gypsum, and comes from an 
earlier building." We do not know what earlier building could have 
furnished a quarter of the quantity used in S. Sophia. Is it possible 
that the whole of it is of gypsum ? (See our chapter xii.) The marble 
skirtings are shown on plates zv. and xvi. 

' In a note Salzenberg draws attention to Paulus speaking of eight 
windows in this wall, and conjectures that instead of the fivt upper 
windows there was one large opening here. 

' Salz., plate xx., fig. 4. Fig. 6 is a capital that was found on one 
of the four parapet posts, and removed at the *' restoration "; fig. 7 was not 
found in S. Sophia ; fig. 8 was an isolated capital in north aisle ; figs. 
9-1 1 show upper mouldings to the piers of the propylaeum. 

i68 S. SOPHIA 

The wood ties which span different arches are adorned on 
the sides and beneath with carvings.^ 

Windows and Doors. — ^The lighting of the church is most 
brilliant ; wherever space or construction permitted, windows 
of considerable size were opened, so that light floods the 
whole church. At the foot of the dome the light streams in 
through forty windows, and each of the seven apses has five 
openings. The eastern sun sends its first rays through the 
six windows in the apse, and the setting sun shines through 
the great west lunette. There arc twenty-four windows in me 
two great tympana, besides large windows in the aisles. 

The windows in the conchs of the exedras are now closed 
up, the grouped windows in the great tympana on the north 
and south are diminished to insignificant openings, and the 
large arched openings at the ^des or the end divisions of the 
aisles seem* even in Byzantine times to have been reduced in 
size ; at least the remwis of {ners, shown in Salzenbers's 
Plate xiii., indicate that there was originally an opening with 
pilasters, similar to those at the eastern end of the side aisles.^ 

It is ssud that Justinian gave instructions that combustible 
materials should be avoided. If so, these instructions were 
followed even to the windows and doors, for the lattice-work 
of the former is of marble, and the panels of the latter are of 
bronze, or rather they are covered with bronze. 

Salzenberg^ gives the inside elevation and section of a 
window on the south side of the gynaeceum, with detsuls on 
a larger scale. The opening in the wall is brick-arched, and 
the framework consists of upright posts, with a thin horizontal 
architrave dividing the window into two parts. Between 
these posts were fitted the breast-wall and lattice-work. The 
posts are narrow towards the outside, and the ends of the 
architrave rest on thin pieces against the jambs. 

The * breast-wall ' at the bottom of the opening and the 
Mattice-work ' are formed of marble, three inches thick. 

^ Salz^ plate xz^ fig. 12 shows the nnderside of the beam in the 
middle of the west gynaeceum ; fig. 15 is the side, and ^%. 16 the under- 
side of one in the south gynaeceum ; figs. 13 and 14, one in the north 

' Salz., plate ziv. ' Plate xvii., figs. 1-7. 


The openings pierced in the slabs are about seven or eight 
inches high, filled with panes of glass. Between the panes the 
marble has a width of three and a half inches, slightly splayed 
on the inside. A second row of slabs fills the Tower part of 
the windows pierced with openings, surrounded by wider 

The great semicircular west window is divided vertically 
by two columns with plain capitals and bases ; the horizontal 
division from column to column is similar to the crowning 
member of the breast-wall of the other windows. The lower 
part is filled with marble slabs, which conceal the roof of the 
western gynaeceum. Each panel is ornamented with a cross 
upon a drde, and within the latter is a monogram. 

The small windows are simply filled with marble lattice 
for the glass. Inside the apse windows of the east end are 
other windows having coloured glazing ; but these are 
evidently Turkish. 

Marble door jambs were placed in the openings left in the 
walls, just as the posts were inserted in the windows ; the 
middle, or Royal Door, from the narthex to the have, is of 
bronze. All the frames were moulded, and above are fixed 
door-hooks, like bent forefingers; these held rings and 
leather fisistenings, from which were suspended the customary 

The lintel of the bronze door-frame bears a relief. This 
represents an arch, supported by columns above a throne 
with the book of the Gospel and the descent of the Holy 
Ghost in the form of a dove. On it are the words of S. John, 
* The Lord s^d, I am the door of the sheep ; through me if 
any man enter, he shall enter and shall go out, and shall find 
pasture.' The simple bronze door-plating now remaining 
does not seem to be original. [See p. 265.] 

Salzenberg,^ as an example of the marble frames, gives the 
east door of north aisle. Like all Byzantine door-frames, the 
head does not cut across the jamb, but mitres. This perhaps 

^ See Salz., plate zvii. Fig. 3 is the upper capital, fig . 4 the lower, 
figs. 5 and 6 the base, and fig, 7 the under side of the architrave. Figs. 
8, o, 10 are details of large west window.^ 

^ Salz., plate z\'iii. 


made it easier for fixing within the openings left in the walls. 
Salzenberg ^ also represents the archeid opening, which stands 
between the Baptistery and the small court on the south 
side of the church.^ There are two tiers of columns, with 
a thin architrave band between them. The door stands 
between the lower columns ; to avoid concealing them the 
frame is made as small as possible, as the plan shows. A 
similar arrangement is found in the earlier church of S. John 

The bronze door-plating on the exterior of the south porch 
entrance is extremely interesting.^ A wooden foundation 
four or five inches thick is covered with ornamental bronze 
casings. The borders to the panels are beautifully modelled, 
and must be ancient. The other outer margins, with knobs and 
rosettes, and the four panels, which are decorated with mono- 
grams, belong to the byzantine school. In the more andent 
parts the metal is one-eighth to one-fourth inch in thickness, 
in the latter it is three-eighths to half an inch. Antique doors 
must have been enlarged and fitted with new panel plates. 

Marble PlaHng. — -broad horizontal bands run roimd the 
nave at diflferent heights, and the spaces between them are 
filled with single panels and vertical sneathing. All the bands 
and panels have notched fillets, i^" wide, of white marble 
as borders. The more important panels have sculptured 
white marble frames, eleven inches wide i^th a ^* pater 
noster'' and notched-fillet borders on either side. 

The spandrils of the upper arches and the bands beneath 
the topmost cornices are incrusted with designs of leaves, 
flowers, fruits,* and birds formed of different kinds of marble. 

The marble casing to the walls of the nave is arranged as 
follows.* Above the skirting is a [s'.io"] band of verde 
antique, then the notched fillet, then a [I'-Si-^ yellow band 
[oriental alabaster] ; above this is a vertical sheeting [7'.io'^] 
formed of Pavonazzetto marble, alternating with a yellowish 
brown marble ; then another horizontal band of yellow. 

Above this stretches a series of panels round the whole 

1 Plate xviii., figs. 10-14. "See plates vi. and xi. 

« Salz., plate iii., fig. 7. * Salz., plate xix. 

^ Sec Sadz., plate ix. 


nave — a panel of rossoy with two vertical slabs of a dark 
marble like porfo venere on either side, each surrounded by 
the sculptured frames. The space from the top of this 
series to the lowest cornice is adorned with two bands of 
yellow [alabaster], and between them is sheathing similar to 
that below. 

The upper division of the nave starts above the cornice 
with horizontal bands of white and verde antique ; above 
which are vertical panels of porphyry, set in a frame of 
yellow [alabaster], ^th slabs of the russet marble on either 
side. [Then follows another horizontal band of oriental 
alabaster, and above it a range of vertical slabs of verde 
antique alternating with Synnadan.] 

Beyond this again, and immediately below the upper 
cornice, is the band made up of different marbles^ \opus 
secHU\. A dark brown marble forms the groundwork, the 
tendril ornament is white, and the rest is of red, like rosso 
antico, and of green serpentine. Similar work incrusts the 
spandrils of the gynaeceum arcade. The centre of each is a 
disc of green marble, and the whole spandril is edged by a three- 
inch strip of pale red. Above the centre of each arch in 
this spandril decoration are discs containing crosses, from the 
arms of which hang seals.^ The soffites of the arches are 
covered with glass mosaic. The susles are lined ^th marbles 
similarly arranged to those in the nave^ 

The walls of the bema are covered with panels of inlaid 
marble.' These panels in pairs are separated by a plain slab 
of porphyry. By the side of the arched opening into the 
gynaeceum is a panel of porphyry with a pattern in slight 
relief, and surrounded with yellow alabaster. The arched 
opening into the gynaeceum is closed with a parapet of white 
marble, with a carved framework above, formerly fitted, as 
holes show, with a metal lattice. 

The lower division of the bema walls is decorated by two 
rows of panels, divided by a horizontal band of verde antique. 
Salzenberg's Plate xxii.. Fig. 6, shows the frieze directly 

^ Salz., plate xvi., fig. 4. ' Salz., plate xvi. 

' Salz., plates xzi., xxii. Plate xxii., fig. i shows the upper frieze and 
the panels beneath. 

172 S- SOPHIA 

below the bema cornice, and the top of a porphyry pilaster- 
strip with a capital of white marble ; a similar pilaster fills 
the narrow space on each side of the apse. 

The walls of the apse are shown on Salzenberg's Plate xxi. 
The frieze beneath the cornice is given in Plate xxii., Fig. 8. 
The porphyry ground has an inlaid pattern which slightly 
projects : the serpentine in the frieze, Fig. 6, also projects 
from its rosso ei'ound. The lower portion of the apse, 
formerly occupied by the seats of the priests, is now plated 
with a white gray marble. This is probably Turkish. The 
hdght of this probably gives the hdght of the iconostasis, as 
there is no sign of any change in the decoration above. 

The marble is fixed to the wall with a dark brown resin. 
In the opus sectile, pieces of coloured marble about a quarter 
of an inch thick were cut to the forms of the design, 
and then l^d ^th their polished faces downward at the 
bottom of a mould ; on this was poured a three-quarter 
inch backing of resin mixed with bits of stone and brick. 
When set, the slabs so formed were attached to the 
wall with cement. The large marble slabs are one to two 
inches thick, and, besides the cement, are fastened to the 
walls by iron [ ? bronze] clamps. The pavements of ground 
floor and gynaeceum are of white marble with dark gray 
stripes. [Proconnesian.] In the south-east angle of the 
SQuare area under the dome is a square of marble mosaic, 
or which detsuls are given in Salzenberg's Plate xxii.. 
Figs. 9-15* It is formed of a circular centrepiece of 
a gray brown granite, ten feet two inches in diameter, 
round which are arranged coloured marble discs of various 
sizes, set in a mosaic of marbles, with a little glass mosaic in 
the angles. 

In the centre of the west end of the gynaeceum is a square 
[of about twenty-four feet] in the pavement l^d with slabs 
of "gray cipollino " [Proconnesian], having a border of verde 
antique, with a patterned edging ^ of giallo and rosso on one 
side, and giallo and serpentine on the other. [Between this 
and the parapet is a circular slab of verde antique four 
feet seven inches in diameter.] 

1 Salz., plate xxi., fig. 18, and our fig. 9. 




Palace. — ^Before entering on particulars of the exterior of 
the church, it will be well to have a clearer view of the 
edifices in its immediate neighbourhood as they appeared in 
the time of Justinian. 

The group of buildings of which the Augusteum was the 
centre was profoundly modified by the fire of the Nika 
Sedition, and by the building energy of the emperor. The 
researches of Labarte and Palates have been almost entirely 
confined to the elucidation of the palace as it existed in the 
tenth century. 

A restoration of the relative position of the several parts 
of the palace, unless by the discovery of remsuns positive 
evidence is obtsuned, is certainly impossible ; the attempt of 
Labarte was worth making, but Paspates, in bringing forward 
another scheme, seems only to have succeeded in showing 
how conjectural the whole matter is, although he speaks of 
certain scraps of walls as belonging to this or that part of 
the palace with as much confidence as if he had found them 
labelled. His work carries internal evidence of the greatest 
inexactness and confudon, and has proved most misleading, 
although his citations are valuable. 

It should not be assumed that wherever a palace is 
mentioned by the historians the " Great Palace " is the one 
referred to, and it must be remembered that the palace 
described in the Ceremonies was the result of gradual growth : 

174 S. SOPHIA 

indeed, what is required is a chronological analysis of its 
history. We have seen in the first chapter that acconting 
to the Paschal Chronicle Constantine built a palace by the 
hippodrome, and the NotiHa mentions the palaces of Pladdia 
and Marina in the same neighbourhood. According to Pro- 
copius the palace was almost rebuilt by Justinian, but he only 
specifically mentions the Chalke. 

Remains of a palace now on the sea-wall, exactly to the 
south of the curve of the hippodrome, are thought to be 
portions of the palace ^^liormisdas" which Justinian 
occupied before he came to the throne (B, on Plan, Fig. 2). 
Close to the sea-wall farther to the west was the double 
church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus and SS. Peter and Paul, of 
which the first survives as Little Sancta Sophia (A, on Fig. 2). 
These were early works of Justinian, and his monogram and 
that of Theodora appear on the capitals of S. Sergius. 

Procoj^us tells us that the churdi of S. Sergius was ^* dose 
to the king's palace which was formerly called by the name 
of Hormisdas. This was once his own private house,'' and 
when he became emperor ** he joined it to the other imperial 
apartments." ^ The Great Palace was higher up the slope, 
against the hippodrome and Augusteum, to which its gates 

It was long after Justinian that the great palace reached its 
maximum development ; the Chrysotndinum was erected by 
his successor Justin II. The houses of Marina and Pladdia 
were still in use at the end of the sixth century, although this 
is mentioned by neither Labarte nor Paspates. The wedding 
of the daughter of Phocas was celebrated in the former,^ and 
" the Royd palace of Pladdia " is referred to by John of 
Ephesus. The writer tells us that Tiberius II., the successor 
or Justin II., made large additions to the palace. Before he 
reigned alone the wife and daughters of Tiberius occupied 
the house of Hormisdas, ** as it was situated just below the 
palace, and he would go down and spend the evening with 
them and retiun early in the morning to the palace." ^ 

Justinian IL also added to the j^ace, and in the ninth 

* Bury, vol. 11., 202. 

* I. of Bphesus wrote circa 590, R. Payne Smith's translation. 


century Theophilus built the Triconcha. Basil the Macedo- 
nian still further increased the assemblage of buildings. 

It is clear that in the time of Justinian there were at least 
four more or less separate palaces grouped together — ^the 
Great Palace, Hormisdas, and those of Marina and Placidia. 

Hippodrome. — ^The information in regard to the hippo- 
drome brought together in the works before mentioned, and 
by Gyllius, cannot be recapitulated here.^ As the ground fell 
away steeply towards the south, that end had to be raised 
high on vaults, and this retaining wall, perhaps forty feet 
high, forming a semicircular curve, still exists.^ On either 
side rose the tiers of the marble seats. At the n(»th end 
was the royal stand, called Kathisma, from which the 
emperors watched the games ; this was raised above arched 
chambers, where the chariots for the arena were kept. The 
south-west end was called Sphendone—Tht Curve. A 
rough draft of Constantinople, made early in the fifteenth 
century for Bondelmontius, reproduced by Mordtmann, shows 
columns standing on the retsuning wall around this curved 
end. A clear representation of this semicircle of columns is 
also given in the Nuremberg Chronicle. Banduri repro- 
duces from Panvinius, who wrote in the middle of the six- 
teenth century, a drawing of the hippodrome which seems 
to have been made with considerable care. Beneath it is 
written, "The ruins of the drcus or hippodrome of 
Constantinople as they were a hundred years before the 
capture of the city by the Turks." * But that it should 
have been in a ruinous state at this time is not borne out by 
the accoimts of^ writers like Clavijo and Bondelmontius, who 
described it in the generation before the Fall : on the contrary, 
we should suppose this to be one of the draughts for the 
Venice view of the city published about 1570, with which 
it agrees in many respects.* This bird*s-eye view shows 
the monuments on the Spina, the Grand Stand and its 

^ See also Rambaud, Revue des Deux Mondes^ Aug. 1871. 

^ See plan and view in Strzygowski und Forchheimer, Die Wasser^ 
behatier von KonstaHttnepeL 

> Imferium Orientak^ p. 664. 

^ See Ancien Plan ie Constantinople imprimkentre 1 566 ^/ 1 574, avec Notes 
explieatives par Caedicius^ 1890. 

176 S. SOPHIA 


^^ Podium '' of vaults, and also the high external retaining 
wall of the curve, above which the columns again appear, but 
set back from its face, so as to leave a passage outside the 
columns, the outer wall being finished with a battlement. It 
is true that in the engraving it is rendered as if these columns 
were attached to a wall, or rather as if a wall were built 
between the columns, for they appear both inside and out ; 
but this interpretation cannot be given to a description of 
this colonnade by Gyllius.^ " In the front of the hippodrome 
facing the Propontis there was a range of seventeen pilars of 
white marble standing when I first came to Constantinople, 
going round that part of the hippodrome which lies between 
south and west/* They sto^ on a low wall, about two feet 
six inches high towards the hippodrome, but outside it was fifty 
feet to the groimd. They were of the Corinthian order, three 
feet five inches in diameter and twenty-eight fe^t high, standing 
eleven feet apart on pedestals ; above them was an architrave 
to which rings were fixed for curt^ns. ^* Above was another 
range of pillars, which were remaining some time after the 
taking of the city by the Turks." These last were only 
reported to Gyllius ; and if we accept such a second tier we 
may suppose that it ranged with a colonnade surmounting the 
contsuning wall of the terraces of seats. Paspates makes 
from this account a wonderful and impossible arrangement ; 
he supposes the first-mentioned colunms to have b^n con- 
tinued along the external sides of the hippodrome, he further 
rears the second range on them, and this he thinks upheld the 
immense mass of the rising seats. ^* If we suppose,' he says, 
" the height of those in the upper row to have been twenty- 
one feet, we have about fifty-six feet as the height of the wall 
on which the seats for the spectators were built." 

These columns probably formed an open screen through 
which the spectators might see the sparkling waters of the 
Propontis, set with the blue jewels of Prince's Islands and 
the white peaks of Olympus rising far away to the left— one of 
the most beautiful scenes in the world. This addition of a 
natural spectacle behind the scene was frequently obtained 
in ancient theatres : the best known is that at Taormina. 

1 Ed. 1562, p. 91. 


Clavijo ^ speaks of the hippodrome as being ** surrounded by 
white marble pillars," but he adds ** thirty-seven in number." 
The anonymous Russian who wrote about the same time 
says ^^ thirty colunms and their sunmiits are united by an 
architrave." See Fig. 2. An ** open hippodrome " and 
a ** covered hippodrome" are mentioned by the Bjrxan- 
tine writers. Labarte distinguishing them, placed the 
latter within the palace. Byeljayev, however, conjectures 
that the covered hippodrome was a part of the Great 
Hippodrome. Be this as it may, the ** rings for curtains " 
of Gyllius suggest that portions were sheltered by a 

Bondelmontius ^ writes thus of the hippodrome : ** In 
it those of noble birth joust in the presence of the people, 
and there are combats and tournaments. It is 690 bracchia 
long and 1 34 wide, and it is built above vaults, in which a 
cistern of the best water covers the whole of the space 
mentioned. At the head of the hippodrome are high pillars 
of Kathisma] where the emperor ^ts with his nobles, and on 
)Oth sides in its length are seats of marble arranged in steps 
where the people ^t and see all the games." On the outside 
towards S. Sophia there was the church of S. Stephen, ^ from 
the galleries of which the ladies watched their chosen 
champions." On the Spina he notices a fountain where the 
wounded were l^d, the two obelisks, and the three serpents 
^* with open mouths from which, it is said, on days of Jousting 
water, wme, and milk used to spout" At the end of the 
Spina were four small marble columns where the emperor sat 
on feast days.>' 

Besides die bronze serpentine column from Delphi, there 
still stands in the hippodrome an Egyptian obelisk, set up by 
Theododus I. on a pedestal sculptured with a representation 
of the emperor viewing the games from the Kathisma, and a 
record of the methods used in erecting the obelisk by means 
of ropes and winches. Nicetas in lus life of S. %natius 

^ Haklayt Society, 1859, p. 34. 
' Migne, 8,G. vol. 133, p. 695. 

> Texier figured in the Revue Archhlo^Me^ 1^459 ^ small fountain 
found near the hippodrome to which it probably formerly belonged. 


178 S. SOPHIA 

says that a brazen pine-apple surmounted this obelbk. A 
third monument is a large built-up obelbk of stone, {ntted 
all over where pins which attached bronze plates were in- 
serted. An inscription often quoted, recooxls that Con-> 
stantine, father of Romanus, repaired it and added to its 
beauty. The casing of bronze was probably covered with 
reliefs and ornament, as was the case with the pillar in the 
Augusteum, and the anemodulium, which was set up by 
Theodo^us in the Forum Tauri. This last was an obelisk 
entirely cased with bronze, ^* having reliefs ^ of cattle, sheep 
and skipping lambs ; peasants labouring or playing on their 
pipes, and birds ; there was also represented the sea, and 
sea-^ods, and cupids playing at ball. On the point was a 
statue of a woman which turned to the slightest breath of 
the wind.'* 

Among the statues in the hippodrome mentioned by Nicetas 
as having been destroyed was the colossal bronze Hercules, 
and a sundial which was in the form of an eagle with wide 
expanded wings trampling on a serpent. The twelve hours 
were marked out beneam its wings, six on either side, and 
the sun shinins through a hole in each wing marked the hour 
or the day. Near the eastern goal was a row of statues of 
charioteers, driving their chanots and turning the goal. 
Besides these there were many other statues of persons and 
animals ; an elephant with a probosds that moved is men- 
tioned, but it is not clear however that this last was in the 

Sigurd, King of Norway, saw the games given here in 
mi; there was a spectacle in which people appeared as if 
riding in the air, some sort of fireworks, also mu»c with 
playing of organs, harps, and other instruments.^ Benjamin 
of Tudela ( 1 1 6 1 ) says, ^Mions, bears, and leopards were shown, 
and all nations of the world were represented, together with 
surprising feats of jugfflery." The hippodrome was used 
for spectacles after the oiange of masters. An Italian MS. 
of 1582 in the British Museum describes the ambassadors 
and princes sitting on staging, with a large stand for the 

1 NicetaSy ed. Bonn, p. 857. 

^ An organ is shown on the sculptured base of the obelisk of Theodosius. 


' band in the ^* piazza ** of the hippodrome ; the Sultan and 
his son sat on an inclosed and covered throne.^ 

Augusteum. — "In front of the palace,'' says Procopius, 
" there is a forum surrounded with cohimns* The Byzantines 
call this forum the Aueusteum. On the eastern side stands 
the Senate-house." Otner writers speak of it as the Agora of 
the Milion, or simply as the Miiion, from the building which 
adjoined it. Zonaras seems to call it the Proaulion of the 
Great Church. Round its sides were peristyles, and the 
buildings mentioned in the first chapter, most of which were 
re-built by Justinian. It was laid with a marble floor of 
long slabs, a portion of which was discovered many feet below 
the present level, together with the inscribed base of the 
silver statue of Eudoxia, when Fossati built the new 
government offices in 1848. 

** Outside the palace the public baths of Zeuxippus and 
the great porticoes and all the buildings on dther hand as far 
as the Forum of Constantine are the work of the emperor 
Justinian." ^ Large pillars have frequently been found which 
appear to have formed part of colonnades in the Augusteum. 
Gyllius saw seven large Corinthian columns, forty-six feet 
high over all and " twenty foot ten digits apart.'* On the 
shaft of one was cut the name of Constantine, with the 
signal of the cross he saw in the heavens, and the inscription 
€N TOYTU) NIKA. These, he seems to surest, may have 
belonged to the Milion. On this is built up a characteristic 
piece of restoration by Paspates, who sees in the seven 
columns, stancUng over twenty feet apart, and obviously in a 
straight line, ** a square building restine on seven columns," 
to which he adds an upper range of pillars supporting a 
domed chamber. Bondelmontius, who is also cit^ for these 
columns, says there were six, and all in a row. They were 
almost certainly a part of the nine columns seen by Claviio ^ 
before the Fall, when he was told that ** a great palace used, to 
stand on the top of them, where the patriarch and his clergy 
held their meetings." 

^ MS. Mus. Brit., Sloane 2742, xvi. c. 

* Procopius. 

< Hakluyt Soc., p. 36. 

N 2 

i8o & SOPHIA 

This great square, surrounded by colonnades, contained 
so many statues and other works of art that Labarte well 
calls it an open air museum. To the north, opponte the south- 
west comer of the church, was the colossal bronze equestrian 
statue of Justinian surmoimting a pillar, which, according to 
Procopius, stood on seven stages of steps and was covered 
with bronze reliefs. The kmg lookol to the east, and 
earned the orb of the earth surmounted by a cross in his 
hand. The pillar had originally been erected bv Arcadius to 
support a silver statue of Theodosius his rather. The 
statue of Justinian, which replaced that of Theodosius, was 
destroyed by lightning in 1492.^ The fragments were seen 
by Gyllius, and, from measurements which he gives, it seems 
to have been from twice to three times natural size. 
Bondelmontius says the pillar was seventy cubits high. A 
very good drawing of the statue, now amongst the MSS. 
of the iSerd library, made about the year 1 340, is reproduced 
by Mordtmann. This pillar and its statue is often called 
the Aumisteum, and it probably gave its name to the place 
in whicn it stood 

The Milion. — It is probable that the city milestone existed 
before G>nstantine, who may have built the structure over 
it. According to Du Gmge ^ the Augusteum, with which 
it was so closely assodated, was often called by its name ; so 
that Codinus tells us that the church of S. Phocas was built 
** in the Milion.*' It appears to have formed the western 
boundary and gate of tlus forum, or at least of its inner 
part, if divided, and to have been connected with a colonnade 
running north and south as well as ^th the Mese. It is 
spoken of as a colonnade {embolos)^ as vaulted {kamara and 
phournikon)^ or as having many arches {apsides). Cedrenus 
and other writers speak of statues in the apsis or kamara of the 
Milion. It can hardly be doubted that it had four large arches 
facing different ways. A structure of this kind remains at 
Lattaquieh, which is about ten metres square and was sur- 
mounted by a dome. De Vogiie ® compares it with ruins 

* Nuremberg Chronicle. 

^ Constantinopolis Christiandy lib. i^ ch. xziy. 

• La Sjrie Centrak^ p. 75. 


of a^milar erecdon found at Palmyra, the Mesomphalion of 
Mcaea, and the Umbilicus of Antioch described by Dion 
Chrysostom, and others. This last stood at the centre of the 
two great colonnaded streets that ran east to west and north 
to south through the dty. 

The prindpal reference to the Milion is the description 
by Nicetas ^ of the struggle with the insurgent troops in the 
reign of Alexius Manuel. ** As many buUdings as adjoined 
the Great Church and commanded the Augusteum were seized 
by the rebels, who scaled the large apsis which stands over 
the Milion^ and also fortified the church of S. Alexius, which 
is joined to the Augusteum. But the imperial troops made 
a sally from the great palace and established themselves in 
the church of S. John called Diippus ; and the agora was 
full of men who were injured by those on the apsis of the 
Milion, and on the churda of S. Alexius. But fresh troops 
from the palace filled all the thoroughfares and passages 
leading to S. Sophia. The rebels, coming out of the 
temple and pasdng by the Augusteum, became engaged with 
the others in the narrow ways, and the conflict remwied 
uncert^n, until the imperial troops drove back from the 
streets those who had come out of S. Sophia and shut them 
within the Augusteum. The imperial troops broke open the 
gates of the Augusteum, and the rebels were forced from the 
top of the Milion by the troops mounting the apsides^ while 
the rest of them, being worsted in the Augusteum, gave way ; 
but a shower of missiles was kept up from the part called 
Macron, overlooking the Augusteum, and the neighbouring 
chamber of Thomais. They took refuge in the pronaos of 
the church, where is the Archangel Michael in mosaic 
standing with drawn sword as if on guard. The imperial 
troops, because of the narrowness, were unable to follow 
them ^th advantage, nor did the insurgents dare to trust 
themselves out ag^n. The patriarch descended into the 
proskenion or protekdikeion of the church, and then harangued 
them to prevent fiirther sacrilege." 

In the Ceremonies we twice read of the emperor 
passing through the nave of S. Sophia and its Royal Gate, 

^ Ed. Bonn, p. 507 et seq. 

1 82 S. SOPHIA 

then across the narthex, and, by the louter (fountun), 
reaching the steps of the athyr (atriiun). ** Then he passes 
through the Muion, and along the Mese and reaches the 
Forum, where is the Chapel of S. Constantine/' Labarte, 
wrongly explaimng tlus as the Forum Augusteum, instead 
of that or G>nstantine, makes the louter the baptistery, 
and the athyr its pcM'di. Other procesnons from the 
Palace to the Church through the Milion have been given 
by Labarte. 

The colonnades adjcnning the Milion are mentioned in the 
account of a fire which attacked a part of the Great Church 
in the rrign of Isaac Angelus. ^^The parts by the apns of 
the Milion, and the Macron, and the place called the synods 
were burnt. The porticoes of Domninus were reduced to 
ashes, as well as the two covered ways starting on both ^des 
of the Milion one of which reaches to the I%iladelphioa.*' ^ 
The Philadelphion was towards Constantine's forum, and the 
other way probably led from the Milicm north and south to 
the church and the palace gate. 

We learn from Agatho the Deacon ^ that in the porticoes 
{stoai\ of the Milion were represented the seven (Ecumenical 
Synods of Constantinople ; uiis is probably what is meant 
by Nicetas, where he speaks of ** The Synods " as quoted 
above (see, however, Moratmann, p. 68). The seven synods 
is one of the iconographic schemes eiven by the Byzafntine 
Manual^ and they are represented m the mosidcs at the 
Nativity Church at Bethlehem. 

Horohgium. — ^In close connection both with the Milion 
and the church was the court of **the time-measure'' — a 
sun(tial or water-dock. At the triumphal entry of Ba»l 
** they passed alonff the Mese up to the Milion, and entered 
through the embolos of the Milion into the Horologiiun, 
and, having put ofF their crowns in the metatorium within 
the Beautiful Gate, they entered the narthex.*'' The 
Horologium is constantly spoken of as being hear the 
baptistery, and was certainly on the south side of the 

^ Nicetaa, p. 733. * Quoted by Buztntios. 

' Ceremmes^ appendix adlik. i., p. 502. 


BapHstery. — ^In our first chapter we have given reasons 
for suppodng that the round building at the north-east 
formed part of the earlier church and became the baptistery 
of Jusdnian*s bmlding. Buzantios considered that the 
former was the baptistery ^* perhaps also used as a sacristy." 
A knowledge of an earlier baptistery would stem to be 
implied in tibe way the south-west building is spoken of by 
Porphyroeenitus and later writers as the *^ Great Baptistery 
by the Horologium/* 

According to Gxlinus and the Anonymous the Great 
Baptistery was built before the church, and Salzenbei^ 
thought the style was earlier than that of the church. Is 
it poanble that this was bmlt as an independent church 
and only ultimately became the baptistery? It appears 
from the account of the Russian pilgrim Anthony that in 
the twelfth century its dome was painted with the baptism 
of Christ in Jordan, a scheme which agrees with the two 
baptisteries at Ravenna. 

St. Peter^s Chapely &r. — ^To the east there were some 
detached buildings, at least in later times. The Anonymous 
we have seen mentions a chapel of St. Peter as near the 
skeuophylakium. Anthony speaks of this chapel, in which 
St Peter*s chains and fhe carpet of St. Nicholas were pre- 
served, as behind the altar. The anonymous Russian says a 
chapel of St. Nicholas was behind the bema, and also speaks 
of a marble basin covered with a lead roof, *^ where they 
baptise the emperors " as being behind the altar, in a space 
set round with cypresses. Anna Comnena also mentions 
^*the chapel of tne Hierarch Nicholas*' as part of the 
Great Church and a place of sanctuary.^ The passage of 
St. Nicholas is also referred to. It is pos^ble that this 
chapel was otherwise known as St. Peter's, and either this or 
** the place where they baptise the emperors *' may be the 
p res en t round building — ^the ancient baptistery as we suppose. 
That St Peter's chapel was of some importance and detached 
seems clear from the Menohgium. On January 16 was 
celebrated the adoration of St. Peter's chains. It is explained 
that after Peter's release, ^* the chains were found by some 

^ Ed. Bonn, v^ p. %66» 

184. S. SOPHIA 

believers and guarded from generation to generation until 
they were brought to Conscantinople by a pious emperor 
and placed in the church (1/009) of St. Peter which is near 
St. Sophia.*' We have given a picture of the chains in 
Figure 8. A tradition of some of these buildings may be 
preserved in an Italian MS. of 1 6 1 1 in the British Museum. 
*^ The ancient buildings round the church have been ruined 
by the Turks except a small part of the close {canonica)y 
where they have made dwellings ; there is also the sacristy 
and the place of the baptistery, which had originally three 
vaulted ceilings, one above another. It was of wonderful 
architecture and made with six angles. From the sacristy to 
the base of the dome is an arquebus shot '; between it and 
the Seraglio lies a road.'* 

Boundaries. — ^Probably the fullest and clearest accoimt of 
the approach to the church through the Augusteum is given 
by the Spanish ambassador Clavijo, who was at Constanti- 
nople in 1405, at a time when many of the buildings in the 
predncts had been destroyed. In a court in the front of the 
church, he saw ^^ nine very large columns of white marble," 
and he was told that before his time a palace had been here, 
where the patriarch met the canons in chapter. ^^And in 
the same place before the church stands a stone pillar of 
marvellous height, on the top of which is a horse of copper 
as large as four horses put together ; on the horse was an 
armed knight with a great plume on his head like a pea- 
cock's t^. The horse has chains of iron round its body 
secured to the column to prevent it from falling, or being 
moved by the wind. The horse is very well made, and one 
fore and one hind 1^ is raised, as if it were in the act of 
prancing. The knight, on its back, has his right arm nused, 
with the hand open, while the reins are held with the left 
hand. This marvellous horse is said to have been placed 
here by the Emperor Justinian, who erected the column. 
At the entrance to the church under an arch in front of a 
gate, is a place adorned with four columns, and below is a 
little chapel very rich and beautiful. And beyond this chapel 
is the gate to the church covered with bronze very great and 
high ; beyond again is a little court surrounded by high 


galleries [horologium?]. Afterwards there was another 
gate of bronze [the south porch]. Beyond this gate 
there is a *nave* vast and high, with a ceiling of wood 
[the exonarthex]. And on the left hand there is a 
cloister very large, and beautiful [the atrium], with many 
stones of jasper of infinite variety of colour. On the right 
hand under the said nave — covered as I have said — ^and 
after the second gate, you arrive at the body of the church, 
which has five doors, high and large, covered with bronze, of 
which that in the middle is the greatest.'' ^ 

The present south porch we should suppose is the pronaos 
mentioned by Nicetas as that where the Archangel Michael 
stood on guwl. The exonarthex is now vaulted, but not 
covered with mosaic ; it is bare and rough, and it seems pos- 
sible that at one time there may have been a ceiling of wood. 

Stephen of Novgorod (1350) says that the first gate 
of the church was by the column of Justinian ; then there 
was a second, a third, fourth, fifth and sixth and by the 
seventh you entered the great church. This may be 
exaggeration, but Gyllius speaks of the south entrance 
formerly being by six valvae of brass, " now there are only 
three, ingeniously worked,'' so that there would appear to 
have been at least one more double door in his time than 
the two now existing. If we consult the careftd drawings 
made by Grelot, which take us half way back to the con- 
quest, we shall see that the boundaries ot the cypress garden 
on the south side agree entirely with the present walls. 
The first of the turbehs was built here about a hundred 
years after the conquest, and we may almost safely assume 
that it was backed against the outer wall, as at present. 
Now when we find Clavijo, some fifty years before the 
conquest, in approaching the church from this side, speak 
of an outer gateway and a court before the church was 
reached, we shall almost certainly be justified in placing 
this outer gate on the present boundary. The fountain 
in the south court we suppose occupies the site of an 
ancient fountain. A comparison of Grelot's plan (1680) 
with Fossati's (1850), will make clear the south boundaries 

^ Hakluyt Soc. series. 

186 S. SOPHIA 

of the church, as they existed at the time of the conquest 
The octagonal bmlding attached to the south ade of the 
church shown in Fossad*s plan must be Turkish, probably 
the library of the sultan mentioned by Pococke. 

The palace of the patriarch, with the library of the 
Thomaites, we would place on the ground between the 
south boundary and the church, the gardens which belonged 
to it occupying the ground of one of the courts. It had 
evidently been destroyed by the time of Clavijo*s vi^t, 
and for what is known as to the buildings we must refer 
to Paspates. 

The courts to the north of the church were probably 
occupied by the cells of the clergy and the coU^ called 
IXdaskalion (see our page 49) ; Bondelmontius speaks of 
^^the way of a thousand columns in pairs*' (the Mese). 
through which the emperor walked to S. Sophia *^ where the 
houses of the 800 clergy were round the church.*'^ 

The Atrium. — ^The street lying at an angle to the west 
wall of the entrance courtyaird, rinng steeply towards the 
hippodrome, is probably ancient. 

Some con^derable remains of the atrium colonnade were in 
existence in the present century, but they were finally de- 
stroyed in 1873.^ The present boundary of the western court 
appears to occupy the pontion of the exterior west wall of the 
atrium. Out^de it there is a level roadway, beyond which 
the ground falls rapidly to the street As the church stands 
across a hill the ground had to be made up to a level, and 
this, together widi the position of the street, would account 
for the court not haidng been square as was usually the 
case. As excavations have shown that the pavement of the 
EGppodrome and the Augusteum were eight or ten feet 
below the present level,^ steps would have been required 
to attain the level of the church at the west. The 
Ceremonies show that the royal procesnons entered and 
left the church on the south side through the Augus- 
teum, which served as a great forecourt to the church on 

1 Anna Cpmnena also speaks of the houses of the Great. Church. 
. * See Curtis Broken Biu of Byzantium^ part 2. 
' Paspates, p. 40. 


1 88 S. SOPHIA 

this side. Without doubt this was the principal entrance. 
Clavijo and other visitors all appear to have entered the 
churdi from the south. When Grelot*s western view was 
made (before 1680) no west doors to the atrium existed, but 
it was entered from the north and south only. In our plan 
we have therefore shown only one door in the west wall 
of the atrium, possibly there was none (Fig. 3). 

Outside the present south-west entrance of the court there 
remained until 1869 a stone inscribed 


Its form suggests that it was a step, or it may have been a 
lintel from one. of the doors into the atrium or the rim 
from a fountain.^ The words "The Holy God dwelleth 
here let no ... . " may be compared with the inscriptions 
for fountains and gates given on pages 84 and 264. 

This atrium court of S. Sophia was called by the 
Byzantine authors aute^ mesaulionj aithrioy and by some late 
writer, garfonastasiouj which Du Cange explains as ** the place 
where pages wait.'' The cloisterol walk originally sur- 
rounded it and formed a quadriporticus ; although the eastern 
walk, the present exonarthex, is inclosed and entirely different 
from the other colonnaded walks, the atrium is often referred 
to as " Four-porticoed " {^etrastoon). It cannot therefore 
be doubted that the exonarthex with its great piers replaced 
the original eastern walk, for the sake of greater abutment 
to the church. This is equally . clear from the building 
itself and the description of the poet. (See Figs. 3, 24, 25, 
29). The "Propylaeum" often spoken of must either 
be this exonarthex, or the gateways in the atrium. 

The cloister walks were vaulted, and the walls covered 
with marble. One of the capitals remained in the court- 
yard as lately as 1873, when it was drawn by Canon Curtis ; 
it resembled those in the gallery inside, with deep sculptured 
dosseret and small volutes below. More than one writer 
remarks on the great beauty of the marble shafts. They 
were set in dose order, and we may see from Salzenberg 
that, when we add for their bases, they were some twenty- 

^ See Cartisy Broken Bitt of By%^ part 2. 


two feet high, and must have made a fine portico to the 
west front. In 1852 two of the pillars were represented on 
the plan of Fossati as still in situ : now every evidence of 
the atrium has entirely disappeared 

Phiale. — In the middle of the court was placed a fountain, 
where, according to the Silentiary, was a ^^ bubbling stream 
leaping into the air from a bronze pipe/' The name given 
to such a fountain by Greek writers was phiale or colym- 
bethra, and, by the Latins, cantharus or nymphaeum. At 
S. Sophia it was also called " The Laver of the Atrium " 
(Xovrifp iuaav\lov)^ The louter or loutron, with its 
colymbethra, formed a sanctuary for the pursued : we read 
in Procojnus of their ^^ fleeing to the church of S. Sophia, 
and coming to the holy loutron, and laying hold of the 
colymbethra which was there." ^ 

According to the Anonymous author, on whom we place 
no reliance, the phiale had twelve arcades or colunms, and 
lions spouted out the water. Canopied phialae it is true 
still eidst at St. Demetrius at Salonica, and in the monas- 
teries of Mount Athos. The canopy of the phiale at old 
St. Peter s was of bronze ; under it the great pine cone, 
which still remains, threw out water in innumerable little 
threads. On the canopy were probably placed the beautiful 
bronze peacocks, which also still exist.^ A very beautiful 
fountain of this kind, at Constantinople, was placed before 
the church built by Basil in the palace. Tne basin was 
marble, from which rose a pine cone pierced with holes. 
Above on the cornice were placed cocks, stags, and rams, of 
cast bronze, from which the water flowed.* 

In the .Court of the Lions at the Alhambra, the basin of 
the fountsun rests on lions, and the water runs away from the 
fountain in four open streams to the four sides of the cloister. 

^ It may be mentioned that an Italian cantharus, or font, of the rvtrelfth 
century, in the possession of Mr. Brindley, has the Latinised form of the 
same word in an inscription around its rim which reads 

Artificum summus cui nuUus in orbe secundus Hunc luterem claram 
sollerer sculpsit aquae. • . • 

* Quoted by Paspates, Byzan, MeL Note on p. 340. 
' Lanciani, Fagan and Cirist, Rome, 
^ Labarte, PaJ. Imt. 

190 S. SOPHIA 

This work was certainly executed under Byzantine influence^ 
and it is curious to find more than one small garden fountwi 
at G>nstantinople in which the water issues from the mouth 
of lions. On the other hand it seems probable that the 
Anonymous imitated the description of the temple of 
Solomon and the layer, which stood on twelve oxen. 
The other washing place he describes (see page 141) with 
the different kinds of animals represented, seems to be 
founded on the description of that of Basil^s church. 

Porphyrogenitus speaks of the ^^ cup of the phiale " ; 
and it seems most prooable, considering die simple description 
of the Silentiary, that, as in so many ancient churches, it 
was at first merely a bowl, standing on a jnllar riang 
from a polygonal basin. In the time of Michael Palaeo- 
logus, there was such a basin on the sides of which ** was 
ensraved on the marble the honoured form of the cross.** .^ 
A Dowl figured by Gruterus^ in 1602 as ^^ newly found at 
Constantinople,'' has been spoken of by Du Canee and 
others as having belonged to S. Sophia, although the evi- 
dence of thb Ls not very positive.' This was a drcular 
bowl very similar to the well-known representation of a 
cantharus of Justinian's time in the Ravenna mosaic. The 
inscription around the rim read equally well in both direc- 
tions.^ This drcle being horizontal, we cannot but think, as 
it would necessarily be read from outside, that Gruterus was 
mistaken in putting the bottom of the letters toward the 
centre ; we have therefore reversed this in our figure. The 
words " Wash thy sins, not thy face only," almost certunly 
refer it to a pluale. Eusebius, for instance, speaking of one 
of these fountains, says, *^ it is not meet for an unclean foot 
to step on the sacred place within the temple," and Paulinus 
tells us that at Nola those who entered the church washed 

1 PMhjmiris di Michael PaUid^ ed. Mtgne, p. 703. See also Da 
Ctnge, B. 80phis^ { 12. * InscriptUms Antiquai totius orbis Rmanu 

* Grelot is vague in regard to it. Banduri undentood him to mean 
that the inscription was on the inner water vessels. The Greek patriarch 
Constantios accepts it as having belonged -to the Phiale. Buzantios 
wildlv says baptistery. 

* An inscrip. in Baptistery Florence, reads — 


Fia 26.-T-I]iscriptioo on Phiale finom Grater. 


their hands in a 
^milar place.^ Pro- 
bably, so accurate a 
writer as Du Cai^e 
had good reasons for 
referring the bowl in 
question to S. Sophia. 
Dr. Covel of Cam- 
bridge, who was at 
Constantinople from 
1670 to 1677, and 
has left a valuable 
MS. now in the Brit- 
ish Museum, which 
we shall have further 
occa^on to quote, 
also gives the inscrip- 
tion, which he says came from the fountain of S. Sbphia, but 
agwi, it is possible he derived this from Du Cange^ or 
from Grelot, whom he appears to have met, for some of the 
Frenchman's drawings are included in the MS. 

In this collection are drawings of two beautiful phiale 
cups, which existed at Ephesus when visited by Dr. Covel. 
From the simple elegance of their forms we suppose that these 
bowls cannot be later than the sixth century.^ See Fig. 27. 
Pavement uf the Court. — ^When the Anonymous tells us 
that the four bpundaries of the church were adled after the 
rivers that flowed from Paradise, it is quite evident from the 
context that he is speaking of the atrium ; and it seems 
probable that immediately before, where he speaks of ^^ ever 
flowing waters of great rivers,*' he is describing the pave- 
ment of the court as figuring four streams. Tlus cert^nly 
would furnish a reason tor the walks taking their names from 
the four rivers of marble wluch flowed towards them, like 

^ See p. 84 and Kraus for other similar inscriptions. 

* The first, he says, *' stands by the entrance to an old Ba^o," it was 
4' 3}' in diameter. ** The second stands in the midst of the cistern in 
the square court of the supposed St. John's Church." This was t' 6" in. 



Fio. 37— Phkle Bowli from I 

the four real streams flow 
in the court of the Alham- 
bra. There is much to 
1 countenance this theory. 
For instance, the atrium of 
old St Peter's was called 
Paradise : Symeon of Thes- 
salonica tells us the part 
outside the doors of a church 
represented the creation, as 
% the bema symbolised heaven ; 
and the idea imght ea^y be 
referred to the words used 
in the service for blesung 
the waters of the phiale. 

This custom of blesung 
the waters on the eve of 
Efnphany, to which Paulus 
the Silentiary alludes (see 
'*°*" page 44), was fwactiscd as 
early as the end of the fourth century.^ Goar gives the 
ritual.' After the evening service the priest with the 
censer and candlestidc proceeds to the "luter of the 
mesaulion" chanting "the voice of the Lord is upon the 
waters." Part of the ceremony of bles^ng included a prayer, 
*' We beseech thee, O Almighty Father .... who fixed 
Paradise in Eden and bade its quadruple spring flow far and 
wide .... who blessed the waters for Jacob, and hast 
bidden us, through thy prophet Isuah, to draw water in 
gladness from the fountains of the Saviour." The account 
of the Anonymous may be a duplication of his description 
of the interior, but outside Charlemagne's church at Aix 
there is a pine cone which formerly belonged to a phiale ; 
the water rained from it through little holes, and about the 
foot are verses referring to the rivers of Paradise and 

ff^est Front. — On the east side of the atrium ojurt, 

1 Migne, Ptt, Car, Cem. Seriti Gratfa, toI. i, 
■ SMtitUgiiim, ed. 1647, p. 463. 


against the west wall of the exonarthex, rise four great piers 
from which spring flying arches to the west wall of the church. 
Solzenberg thought that the upperarches were Turkish^and that 
the piers were originally intended to support equestrian statues, 
which he therefore shows in his drawings. Other writers, 
amongst whom is Fossati, say that the oronze horses now 
on the gallery outside the west front of S. Mark's at Venice, 
taken from Constantinople in 1 204, came from this position ; 
but there is not the least authority for this statement, and the 
horses at Venice are not half the size of those that would be 
required to justify the suggestion. Bondelmonrius in 1422 
describing the columns of the dty, speaks first of that of 
Justinian, *^ secondly of that of the Cross, where are seen 
four upright porphyry columns ; and on them were placed 
four bronze horses which the Venetians took to S. Mark's at 
Venice, but the columns rem^n." Brocquiere, writing ten 
years later, says that ** westward [in the dty] is a very high 
square column with characters traced on it, and bearing on 
the summit an equestrian statue of G>nstantine in bronze. 
He holds a sceptre in his left hand, with his right extended 
towards Turkey in Asia and the road to Jerusalem as if to 
denote that the whole of that country was under his govern- 
ment. Near this column are three [sic] others placed in a 
line, and of single pieces which bore the three gilt horses 
now in Venice." Brocquiere has here certainly confused the 
column of Justinian, and that of Constantine, but we may 
safely accept Bondelmontius. The porphyry column of 
Constantine, situated in the Forum Constantine, at this time 
bore a cross with the inscription "Holy, Holy, Holy." 
Many modem writers place the four horses in the hippo- 
drome, as Nicetas speaks of " the arched starting-places for 
the racers, above which are fixed powerful horses of gilt 
bronze, curving their necks and facing one another as if 
eager for the course" (Ed. Bonn, p. 150). 

Between the four great piers of the west front there are 
now three doorways. If, however, we refer to the plates of 
Salzenberg, we shall find that only the two lateral ones are 
there shown, and that the position of the central door is 
occupied by a window ; this arrangement was seen by Texier 

194 S. SOPHIA 

in 1834, ^^d ^^ shown in a MS. drawing of his, now in the 
library of the Royal Institute of Architects. Referring 
to the views and plan which Grelot published in i68o, we 
see the central bay occupied by a belfiy, with a pyramidal 
top rising above the roof of the exonarthex. Now in 
Goar*s Euchologium^ there is a note to this effect, ^^The 
Greeks first took up the use of bells from the time when 
Urso Patrido, Doge of Venice, in the year 865, sent 
them to Michael the emperor, who greatly valued them, 
and built a tower for them against S. Soplua.'' We have 
already seen that large repairs were made to the west front 

of the church about this 
time (page 123), with a 
view of counteracting the 
thrust of the vaults. Be-* 
fore the belA-y was built 
the Semantron would have 
been used ; this was a 
plate of bronze or wood 
suspended in the atriiun 
and struck like a gong 

Fio. 28.— Semantron at Constantinople, (see Fig. 28). It appears 

firom Lenoir. ^^.^^ ^^ Russian pilgrims 

that the bells remuned in 
use for only a short time. A sixteenth century French 
MS. in the British Museum speaks of the old square tower 
and bells. Grelot ^ says " this tower, formerly the belfry, is 
now void, the Turks having exchanged the music of bells 
for the noise of cannon.*' It was not fifty Unses high, and 
could not have held many beUs, or large ones.' 

The upper story of the narthex, Grelot tells us was sup- 
ported by ^x flying buttresses, and both his exterior views 
show three complete piers and flying arches on each side of 
the tower. The bay next the belfry on the right was occupied 
by a low building with a pent roof, in which were descending 

1 Ed. 1647, p. 560. 

' RelatioM NouvelU d^un Voyage di Cvnstantinopli, 
' In Fig. 29 we have followed his drawings disregarding his estimate 
of height. 


196 S. SOPHIA 

steps, at the bottom of which they drew off water from " the 
great dstems under the church, from which it was s^d a boat 
imght reach the sea." As to the doors there were three 
towards the west, used when Grelot made his plan, two bdng 
those at the extreme north and south, opposite the lateral 
atrium walks, and the other, which was less, and little used, 
was next the belfry on the left, and is in fact the left one of 
the three present doors. The arches, which cover two of the 
spaces between the piers and make them into porches, are 
shown in the idew by Fossati of the unrestored state of the 

Comparing the drawings of Grelot and the plan given by 
Du Cange, both published in 1680, with the present remains, 
it would appear that there were formerly ten of these but- 
tresses ; two being merged in the central belfry, and the two 
outside ones incorporated in the minarets, on the ^des of which 
traces of them may still be seen. Two others have dther been 
destroyed by the Turks, or Grelot's drawings are wrong to 
this extent, as no trace seems to remain of more than eight. 
Of these eight which now in part remain, Salzenberg only 
reserves the four at the centre, on which he places the 
horses. Our Figs. 2^and 29 represent the (»iginal west 
front and the altered facade of the ninth century ; see also 
Plan, Fig. 24. 

Cisterns.— On the south side of the right-hand pier is a 
small arch which gives access to a little recessed chamber in 
the buttress. From this and from a similar recess north of 
the central entrance, water from the cisterns beneath the 
church was probably obtained : a cross on the wall of the 
little chamber would seem to show that it was a *^holy 
weU." 1 

Clavijo says the cisterns beneath the church would float 
ten galleys, and C. Lebrun (17 14) speaks often cisterns and 
forty columns standing in the water. The only real de- 
scription of the dstem we have been able to find is in Dr. 
Covcl's MS. diary in the British Museum. In. 167 6 he 
writes, " We went to see the vaults under S. Sophia ; they 
were full of water, then 1 7 feet deep, and overhead, from 

1 Curds, Br9ken Bits of Bjz., Part II. 


the water up to the top of the arch was about 2 yards and 
6 inches. Every pillar is square (4^ feet)) and distant from 
another just 1 2 feet. The bricks are very broad^ thin^ and 
well baked ; [it is] not plastered within, the mortar very 
hard. They say it goes under [the] At-Meidan, but we 
could not enter it The waste water of the Aqueduct enters 
into it, and [going] out of it passing through the Seraglio, 
goes into the sea by the dunghill. [There is] severe punish* 
ment to [those who] have houses with offices [drdning] into 
it ; or [for those who] throw any filth into it : the well of 
S. Sophia [opens] into it and many wells in the Seraglio." 
He gives a diagram plan, showing two rows of eight piers 
and a third row of three, although, as no boundary is shown, 
it is impossible to say if this is the whole eictent (see below)."^ 

Generally. — Some of the exterior was doubtless cased with 
marble like S. Mark's ; indeed some of the marble plating 
remained in Salzenberg's time. ^^ The walls outside (the 
Anonymous writes) were covered with large and valuable 
stones.*' Where not so incrusted the narrow coiu'sed brickwork 
showed in thin red lines, almost equalled by the thick joints 
of the mortar. From this brickwork the marble lattices of 
the windows, each with its slab at the bottom charged with 
a cross, shone out fair, and the gray lead of the many domes 
rose above all, curve on curve in pearly gradation of light. 
The courts were doubtless closely set with cypresses, like 
those which now rise about the turbehs on the south side. 

Many passages in the Byzantine authors show how much 
beauty of^ site was regarded as essential for a fsur church.^ 
Procopius, describing the Church of the Fountiun at Con- 
stantinople, says, ^^ diere was a grove of cypresses in a rich 
meadow of bloonung flowers, a garden abounding in fruit, 
with a gently bubbling spring of sweet water, everything 
suggested the site of a church. ' 

* See P. D. Kouppas, The Building of Byzantine Churches. ^EXXip. 
^iXoX* SvXX. vapap. vol. lo-ll^ p. 38. 

. ..•♦ 







It may be well to say a few words on the growth of the 

Byzantine architecture, of which Justiman*s church is the 

perfect flower. This building is often spoken of as if it 

]jj were at once the first and the maturest essay in this great 

> style, but this we mi^ht know would have been impossible, 

even though the Iv&s thaC led up to it were lost, whidi is 

not entirely the case. It is pcrfecitly true, however, as Mr. 

I Morris says, that ^^ the style I^ps into sudden completeness 

in this most lovely buildmg.** 

The new wants of the Church soon evolved the complete 
Christian basilica, which, it has been said must have been in 
the mind of the writer of the Apocalypse as the type of the 
entire arrangement of the altar, the twentv-four elders, and 
the great congregation, in his vision of the heavenly wor- 
ship. In the time of Constantihe, and in Rome, alongside 
of work which was entirely classic, the churches, with fewer 
ties to the past to limit development along truly rational 
lines, h^ developed a manner which was a more cUrect out- 
come of the necessities of building with a .minimum 6f 
merely perfunctory "architectural * forms — ^those con- 
ventions for the thoughtless expenditure of the workers' 
labour, which in still worse times make architecture a 
burden to them instead of a delight. 

Thb transitional style is rightly called earlv Christian, 
or Constantinian. In the East, the vital part of the empire 


at this time, a greater change was taking place that brought 
l>ack life once again to the arts of decoration ; this may be 
expressed in a formula as the re-orientalization of classic 
art — ^the linking of simple mas^ve Roman buildins to a 
new decoration, vividly alive and inventive, frank, bright, 
and full of colour, and yet as rational in its choice and 
application as the construction. In the modem sense the 
Romans may be sdd to have invented builcting, and the 
Byzantine-Greeks architecture. 

The Roman system of arched building, covered with 
brick and concrete vaulted shells and domes, had been 
masked by non-functional pillars, tablements, and pediments 
in what was thought the true Athenian manner ; at the 

. same time many beautiful decorative expedients were also in 
use, such as the lining of walls with lar|;e thin marble slabs, 
or small pieces of glass of various forms and colours. 
Mossuc of gold glass seems to have been known before the 
time of G>nstantine.^ Gold tesserae probably originated in 
an at first almost accidental use of portions of the Roman 
glass vessels .which are decorated by patterns in gold leaf 
protected by a thin layer of s;lass over the surface. Parts of 
such vessels are found used decoratively in the Catacombs. 

Byzantine architecture was developed by the use of brick in 
the frankest and fullest manner, especially in domical vaultmg. 
Wide spans were kept in equipoise by other smaller domes. 
The more conosntrated supports were marble monoliths, 
and the wall and vault sumces were covered by incrusta- 
tions of marble slabs and 'glass mosaic. I^rectness, an 
economy of labour relative to the results obt^ned^ is perhaps 
the most essential characteristic of the art both in construc- 
tion and decoratiofi in the great period. This freedom and 
rationality mark it out frotti all other styles of building, or 

• rather make it include all other styles, for this reaches the 
universal. M. Choisy rightly insists on the fact that the 
Byzantine builders endeavoured to suppress preparatory and 
auxiliary work, and to execute their vaiilts and domes 
without centring. " The greater number of their vaults," 
he says ^^ rose in space without any kind of support. . . . 

^ For gold tesserae of second cent, see Bull. Soc. des Ant.^ 1895-, p. 76. 



Their method is not a mere variation ci that of the West, 
but it is quite a (Ustinct system, not even derived from a 
Roman source, but Asiatic Byzantine art is the Greek 
spirit working on Asiatic elements." Here we have an 
extreme statement in one direction, and the word Roman 
must be used in a narrow sense ; for these Asiatic elements 
in construction, of which alone M. Choisy seems to be 
speaking, whatever were their remote origins must have been 
completely absorbed into the larger Rome of the Empire, 
and we have no knowledge of any other system of con- 
struction in western A^a 
from the first to the fourth 
century than " Roman," 
unless we subdivide this 
into Palmyrene, Herodian, 
or construct an imaginary 
Persian style out of what 
went before and came after- 
wards. Choisy himself shows 
that a large use of burnt 
brick was first made by the 
Romans, and that the system 
of building vaults in sec- 
tions known in Assyria and 
Egypt had been adopted by 
Roman builders in the East 
in the time of Constantine. 
But this was the essential 
germ of Byzantine con- 
struction. It was the falling 
away of a dead scholasticism that left Roman biiilding 
in the East free to be shaped into Byzantine architecture. 
Mr. Bury, who is extreme in the opposite cUrection, and 
makes the same claim for the continuity of Roman art as 
he does for the Empire, suggests that Romaic would be a 
better term than Byzantine. But whatever name is given to 
the political system we must remember that the arts are 
shaped by the people, and that the people were truly Greek 
who, in the age of Justinian, thought out and left to the 

Fig. ja— Roman Tomb in Pakstine. 


modern world the last great gift of Hellenic genius — 
medieval Greek architecture. 

While the art of building in the East, particularly 
in Syria and Asia Minor, and possibly in Egypt, was 
still distinctly Roman, a ferment and change may be 
detected which cannot be matched in Rome itself. Both in 
construction and ornamentation there is much already at 
Palmyra and Baalbec that belongs to the new, and repudi* 
ates the rules of merely offidal art. 

In Rome the dome never appears to have been finally 
adapted to a composite building by being directly applied to a 
square plan. The dome on pendentives, so far as we know, 
was invented and perfected entirely in the East. M . Choisy 
figures a building from Jerash, which may be of the tUrd 
or fourth century which he considers the earliest known 
dome on pendentives. This building, although it is pl^nly 
early, has nothing characteristically Roman about it. A 
building of the same class however, recently discovered 
by the Palestine Exploration Sodety at Kusr en Nueijis in 
eastern Palestine,^ is an ornate example of late Roman work ; 
Ionic pilasters and carved entablature mask the outdde, while 
within- we have' a perfected dome on pendentives covering a 
central square area, counterpoised by four barrel vaults. We 
agree with the Memoir that — ^** there can be little he^tation 
in ascribing this building to the second centiuy a.d.** 
This building, probably a mausoleum, in adjustment of 
parts, and geometrical development might be a Byzantine 
church of three hundred years later. It is a little Sancta 
Sophia, and taken together mth the Jerash building it 
m^es a class invaluable as a fixed point to work ftom.^ 
This however like most Sjnian buildings is of stone. 

A church at Koja Kales^ in Isauria,^ Fig. 31, which there 
is a great reason to suppose of early fifth century work, 
furnishes an important lidc. We have here an approxima- 
tion of the square domed building to the columned basilica 
which is most interesting. This church is substantially 

^ Eastern Pakuine Memoirs^ 1889, p. 172. 

* Sec Fig. 30. 

> Prom die Hellenic Society's supplement to their journal. 



Fig. 31.— Plan of a Chnrch in 
Iiaiiria. . 

Fio. 32.^Chiirch of the Trinitjr» Ephesns. 

complete with women*s galleries opening to the nave by a 
second tier of arcades just as at S. Sophia. 

The next building we should place in the sequence is the 
church of the Trinity at Ephesus of which Hiibsch, Wood 
and Choisy give pla^s. The former furnishes a restoration, 
and speaks of it as probably one of the earliest of Christian 
churches, but there is no reason to suppose it earlier than 
the beginning of the fifth century. Choisy speaks of it 
as a curious monument of transition already Byzantine in 
structure. Before seeing Hiibsch's restoration, we had 
placed an arcade in the lateral arches, agreeing in every 
respect with his suggestions ; and that this was the original 
form is strongly confirmed by the next church — as it seems 
to us — in the development. This is the church of S. Sophia 
at Salonica, which has long been assigned to Justinian's 
reign at a time subsequent to the erection of S. Sophia, but 
is now thought to belong to the fifth century. M. Pctros 





in the Hesiia^ of 
Athens for Oc- 
tober 3rd and 
November 1 4th 
1 8 93, gives the 
mosaic inscrip* 
tion of this 
church, which 
he thinks de- 
finitely fixes its 
decoration in 
the year 495-^ 
The churdies 
at Cassaba, An- 
cyra and Myra 
in Asia Minor 
engraved in 
Texier*s jisie 
MineurCy and 
repeated by Sal- 
zenberg relate 
themselves so closely to this chain of development that 
we believe they will be found to belong rather to the fifth 
and sixth centuries than to the seventh or eighth as those 
writers thought The square type with a central dome 
persisted independently without coalescing with the basilica. 
Such was the domed church at Antioch founded by G)nstan- 
tine and completed by Constantius ; here the central dome 
was surrounded by aisles, and formed an octagon. In the 

^ See also ByzMtinischi Zeitschrift^ 1894. 

* The inscription states that the work was done while Paul was arch- 
bishop. And — 



The vital numerals were defaced, bat there seemed no doubt that the 

last fragment was a part of S (6000) and as the writer states that there 

was only room for one more letter, SA or 6004 (495) is the only year 
that will fit the fourth indiction. "The architect Bubroff* is about to 
show that the church was built in the fifth century." 

Fio. 33. — Church of S. Sophia, Salonica. Scale aboat 
forty-five feet to an inch, for three plans. 

204 S. SOPHIA 

churches of St. George at Ezra, and St. Sergius at Bozra 
we have domes stan(£ng over a central octagon contsuned 
in an external square. These were built about 515, and 
they furnished the type that was followed at St. Semius at 
Constantinople which was built only a few years before S. 


It is noteworthy that the architects who built S. Sophia as 
well as the lustorians who chronicle the work, all, so far as 
thdr birth-places are known, come from Syria and Asia NCnor. 
The flourishing dty of Ephesus was one of the great centres 
of the transformation of the art of building ; and it was 
from the neighbouring ddes of Tralles and Miletus, that 
Anthemius and Isidorus came to Constantinople. 

Of the two master builders who appear to have been em- 
ployed together by Justinian, it seems dear, from Procopius 
and the other writers, that Anthemius was more espeoally 
concerned in the preparation of the first draft or model, and 
that Isidorus, by birth a Milesian, was assodated ^th him in 
the conduct of the works. 

^^ Anthemius,** says Paulus, ^^ skilled in setting out a plan, 
l^d the foundation. * *^ Anthemius was the man who devised 
and worked at every part,** writes Agathias, and this author 
gives some accoimt of his life. " Now this Anthemius was 
bom at Tralles, and he was an inventor of machines ; one of 
those who apply designs to material, and make models and 
imitations or real things. He was (Ustinguished in this and 
had reached the summit of mathematics knowledge, just 
as his brother Metrodorus was distinguished, in letters. 
Besides these there were three other brothers, Olympus, 
famous for his knowledge of law, and Dioscorus and 
Alexander, both skilled in medidne. Of these IXoscorus 
lived in his native land and Alexander in Old Rome. But 
the fame of the skill of Anthenuus and Metrodorus reached 
the emperor, and they were invited to Constantinople, where 
they spent the rest of their lives, each presenting wonderful 
examples of his skill. One taught letters ; the other raised 


wonderful biuldinss throughout the city and in many other 
places ; these, I thmk, even if nothing were said about them, 
as long as they remwied unharmed, would be suffident to 
win for him perpetual glory/* 

Stories of his mechanical ingenuity are told by Agathias 
one of which is as follows. Anthemius had a quarrelsome 
neighbour whose room overhung his ground. He placed 
here large kettles of water, with an arrangement of leather 
pipes and a tube like a trumpet up to the projecting part ; 
and making the other parts secure, ^' he heated the water so 
that the whole thing burst up like an earthquake." 

As to the scheme prepared by the master builders for the 
building, an examination of the evidence seems to suggest the 
following antecedent conditions and governing ideas, i. The 
ground levels required a short and wide church (anUj p. 186). 
2. An old western apse posdbly suggested the western hemi- 
cycle of the new church (anfej p. 19). 3. The plan, while a 
direct outcome of traditional forms as we have shown, seems 
a synthesis of the three types which were then current ; the 
Basilican like S. John Stucuus ; the square church with a dome 
like S. Sergius, and the cross plan of the Chui'ch of the 

At S. Sergius, the expedient of planning columned exedras 
to fill out the angles of the square beneath a domed vault 
had proved its utility and beauty. For the influence of the 
cross type we need only turn to die plan, and observe that the 
width across the ^^ transepts " is exactly the same as the length 
included by the eastern and western hemicydes. 

The master builders not only designed the church, they 
came "and worked at every part," and lived with their 
building until their death ; they certainly graduated as work- 
men, and we hear nothing of their honours or portion, only 
of their genius.^ In the words of M. Choisy, " In Justinian's 
time, to ouild was the essential rSle of the architect" 

Both master builders are agdn mentioned as working 
together on the occasion of the fortifications of Dara in 
Mesopotamia, having been injured by floods. The emperor 

^ A book on mechanics {v€pl vapaSoitay fufxavtjfidnaii) has been ascribed 
to Anthemius. 

to6 S. SOPHIA 

on hearing of it at Constantinople ^^ straightway summoned 
those most celebrated architects Anthemius and Isidorus 
mentioned before, and inquired what might be devised'* 
The scheme of Chryses, the engineer of the works at 
Dara, was however adopted.^ 

The yoimger Isidorus who re-erected the dome of S. Sophia 
Procopius mentions as having been employed by Justinian in 
rebuilding the dty of Zenobia in Mesopotamia with its 
fortifications, churches, baths and porticoes. ^^ All this work 
was done under the superintendence of Isidorus and Joannes, 
of whom Johannes was a Byzantine and Isidorus a Miledan by 
Inrth, being the nephew of that IddcMiis I mentioned before/' 

To the master builders Procopius, Paulus, and Theophanes 
give the names mechanikoSypolumechanos^mechanopoioSy to which 
other writers add protooikodomos — ** first of the buildars," 
magistros and maistor. The craftsmen appear to have been 
dasised as technitai with a foreman over each subdivi^on. 
The Latin names of the dififerent building crafts are given 
both in Theodosius* code,^ and in the edict of Diodetian,' 
which fixed their wages. This edict is bilingual, but unfor- 
tunately the Greek synonyms for the workmen are wanting. 
In the description of the building of S. Sophia, Procopius 
speaks of the lithologos or " stoneJayer,** who built the big 
piers, Paulus and the Anonymous use laotoros and laotomos^ a 
** mason ** and " stone-cutter," wherever marble workers are 
mentioned, to which must also be added lithoxos ^* stone 
polisher." The general bricklayers, &c. are comprised as 
oikodomoL Tektonikos implies a carpenter. S. Gregory of 
Nyssa, in describing a church of S. Theodore, calls the 
craftsman who arranged the mosaic tesserae, o trvpOirti^ 
r&v ^^/Scov. 

A list of the chief dasses of workmen employed in the 
sixth century on a monumental building in Italy given by 
Gissiodorus,^ names the following — Instructor-parietxun, 
sculptor- marmorum, camerarum-rotator, gypsoplastes, and 

* Procopius in Pal. Pilg. T$xt^ p. 48. 

* Lib. ziii., tit. iv. * Edit, by Waddington^ p. 18. 

^ Giacomo Boni, // Duomc di Parenzo^ in Jrchivio Storico dell^Jrte^ 
1894, p. 5. 


mu^varius. The instructor-parietum is probably the man 
who set out the work, the camerarum-rotator is he who 
turned the vaults. The gypsoplastes, a literal transcript 
tion of yuyfroirXdorff^^ signifies a worker or modeller in stucco, 
corresponding to the plastes-gypsarius of the edict of 
IXodetian. The musivarius is the "putter together of 
tesserae" of S. Gr^ory. Workmen who undeistood the 
mysteries of " vault turning ** seem to have been espedally 
appredated, as Theophanes tells us that Isaurian workmen 
were employed to buUd the dome of S. Sophia. 

In the humblest work the personality of the maker is often 
delightfully expressed. A Byzantine brick in the British 
Museum is stamped " X P. made by the most excellent 
Narsis,** and a late Roman glass cup bears the l^end " Ennion 
made this. Think of it, O buyer." 

In his inquiry as to the methods of workmanship, M. 
Choisy says tiie Byzantine Greeks did not efface from buildings 
all traces of the workman's individuality. ^^ The workman 
is no mere passive instrument, obedient, without any regard 
to initiative or responsibility, to the workshop foreman ; he 
is treated as an intelligent power, and finds in front of him 
liberty, and a field open to his imagination.*' 

In Roman times the system was that we call ^^ division of 
labour." " Varf roman est un fait iT organisation.** The 
worknian was not an independent dtizen working at his own 
pleasure for his daily wants ; he was a functtonnaire^ and 
compulsorily a member of an association organised by the 
state on the model of military service. In the East an 
altogether freer system seems to have obtained. The guilds 
were independent assodations, and in Palestine the Carpenter's 
Son and the tentmaker followed their callings irrespective of 
state authority. ^^In Byzantine buildings the same name 
occurs in turn upon columns, capitals, or simply squared 
blocks of stone, and there is nothing to show that the 
foreman of the works kept one man at one particular 
kind of work. The East never changes ; at present the 
absence of division of labour in Oriental buildings is most 
striking. The proprietor chooses a master Workman ( pro- 
tomaistor) ; to this improvised architect he adds a certsdn 

2o8 & SOPHIA 

number of head workmen {maistores) and thdr companions, 
and these same men will work at digging the foundations, at 
the masonry of the walls, and at the carpentry of the roof; 
even the ironwork and joinery is scarcely reserved for spedal 
workmen/' The terms masters and companions suggest an 
arrangement which merits consideration. Like western work- 
men the Greek artizans were affiliated to corporations which 
have lived to our days. These assodations (sunergasiai) had 
a coundl, composed exclusively of those, who, by appren- 
ticeship and trial, had earned the title of masters {maistores). 

Eacn society was presided over by a " protonmstor ** 
helped by secretaries {grammateus and kerux% to summon 
the meetings. It was at once a corporation of workmen, a 
religious brotherhood, and a mutual aid society : and such 
societies engaged in mutual acts of hospitality and asdstance 
between one town and another. 

All workers in the East seem to have been thus assodated 
into guilds, and munidpal life was organised on the guilds. 
This is evident at G)nstantinople as early as the RoHHa^ 
see p. 1 1 above. The members of the guilds had to help at 
fires, and Lydus gives the cry which brought them together, 
^^ Omnes Collegia^.'* Demetrius, the nlversmith of Ephesus, 
called together the Sunetgasia when the craft was in danger ; 
we even hear of strikes. Even unsldlled labourers had their 
guilds, and Mr. Ramsay has described the Guild of Street 
rorters of Smyrna in Roman times {American Journal of 
Archaology^ Vol. I.). The existence of the guilds is thie most 
significant fact of the sodal history of the middle ages. 
In such craft organisation of labour, free of the financial 
middlemen who now rightly call themselves " Contractors," 
we see the only hope that bmlcUng for service, and ornament- 
ing for delight, can ag^n be made possible. 

Our stucSes have convinced us that ^^ shop production " 
went on side by »de with the buil(Ung omanisation. This 
shop production will be at once allowed tor such things as 
gold cups and altars, lamps and bronze doors, but we believe 
that decorative marble work was largely produced in this 
way, and that just as enamelled cups and damascened doors 
were " ordered " in Constantinople, so also were sculptured 


slabs and capitals. It would be possible to account for mere 
resemblance by ^^ influence,** but absolute likeness between 
the capitals and sculptured or inlaid slabs found in con- 
temporary buildings, at cities so far apart as Constantinople, 
Salonica, Parenzo, Ravenna, and Rome show that in the 
fifth and sixth centuries such works were dispersed from 
a conunon centre. So early as the fourth century S. Gregory 
Nazianzenus speaks of a priest who came to Constantinople 
*^ from Thasos bringing with him the gold of the church 
wherewith to buy slabs {flakes) of Proconnesian marble.*'^ 
These things were not only bought, but specially com- 
missioned ; for instance, the marbles of St. Clemente, which 
are almost certsdnly Constantinople work, bear fine mono- 
grams of John, afterwards elected pope in 532. The great 
contributing cause for this, besides the political and artistic 
position of Constantinople, was doubtless its possesion of an 
absolutely perfect material in boundless proftision — ^the coarse 
white marble, which we may see tonday so delightftilly 
wrought in small shops into the tombs, each of which has its 
carved tree of cypress, palm, or rose. 


Domty &c — ^Agathias tells us that when Justinian ret>uilt 
the dome it was made higher, and that large alterations were 
made to the sustaining arches on the north and .south sides. 
Salzenberg cites Thepphanes and Zonaras who give the in- 
crease of height as twenty and twenty-five feet respectively. 
If we examine the longitudinal section we shall see that the 
great semidomes of the hemicydes and the apsoid of the bema 
show much less of their curvature outside than the present 
central dome. The windows in these do not stand above a 
cornice, but are pierced through the vaults at middle height ; 
the domical sui^ace being unbroken by any cornice from 
springing to crown. The cupola of the baptistery is also 
continuous with the pendentives. A dome of this kind, 
however, continuing the pendentives, would seem to be im- 
possibly flat, and would be some thirty feet less than the 

^ Migne^ S.G., vol. izivii., p. 1090, 


present hdght — see A in Fig. 4, the existing dome rising to 
B. If a curve between these two be obtained by lowering 
the crown of the dome about fifteen feet to c, it mav be 
noticed that a straight line tangential to the curve or the 
eastern apsoid, and also to the great semidome would form 
similar contact with the dome. 

Salzenberg, understanding an account of Cedrenus as to a 
strengthening of the abutments of the dome to refer to the 
great buttress massed which rise above the gynaeceum roof, 
considers that the external parts of these masses were ad- 
ditions made at the time of Justinian's restoration. These 
great vertical piles are so essential to the structure, to the 
logical beauty of the de^gn, and to the staircase service of 
the builcting ; moreover the prepai;ation for them beneath is 
so adequate, that we cannot accept tlus suggestion, and 
therefore follow Choisy in considering them original. Nqw 
Choisy, examining the external base of the dome where it 
forms a square, found that the four angles had been in- 
creased, and that it did not originally form a square, but 
rose above the piers and the lateral arches as shown in Fig. 34, 
and in Fig. 37, where the first base is shown by hatching and 
the additions by dotted linesj A A. "This alteration," 
he writes, " is not hypothetical. I verified the entire absence 
of bond between the first base of the dome and the added 
work*' (p. 138). These additions were built on the lateral 
arches, and on the top of the piers, altering the form shown 
in our Fig. 35 to tne present form given by . Salzenbet]g. 
That Choisy is right, is borne out by seeing the resemblance 
of treatment that there would have been between the 
growth of the dome on the north and south and the senu- 
dome on the west (see Fig. 34). 

Again, Salzenberg hardly niakes it sufiiciently clear that 
the large arches in the walls which fill the great vertical 
semidrcles over the arcade^ on north and south sides, are in 
fact the inner surfaces of the arches which pass between the 
pairs of piers on north and south sides (seventy-two feet apart 
in this direction), and being the whole width of those piers 
(fifteen feet eight inches) on soffite they form the immense 
arches so well known on the outside. The semicircles of wall. 


Fio. 3e.— SMtion <rf Aiilei and G«ll«y. VCTSC 

each of which contains twelve 
windows, are now filled in 
beneath these arches, flush 
with their inner /acetyUid the 
arches therefore do not show 
to the interior through the 
decwation (Figs, 4, 36, 38). 
Now Agathias (see page 
30) says that at the re- 
stcoution after the earth- 
quake in 558, at the north 
utd south arches they 
brought towards the in^e 
" the portion of the building 
which was on the curve. 
This, we think, must refer to 
the filling wall, in the arches 
of seventy-two feet span, 
which we suppose was for- 
merly on the exterior, and 
thus left an upper gallery 
twelve feetwide and seventy- 
two feet long open to the 
interior. " And they made 
the arches wider to be in 
harmony with the others, 
thus making the equilateral 
symmetry more perfect. 
They thus reduced the vast 
space and formed an oblong 
de^gn." That is the arches 
of seventy-two feet, when 
filled up on the inside, were 
DO longer , visible, and the 
dome appeared to stand over 
arches of 100 feet span op 
nrath and south, as already 
on east and west, the trans- 
dimension of- the 


church bang 
lessened be- 
tween these 
pdots by some 
feet Salzen- 
berg under- 
standing Aga- 
thias to refer to 
the apparent 
arches or 100 
feet span on 
' ncHth and south 
is unable to 

Fia 37.— Ptan of Biab of Dome m origiiuJIy detigned, offiu" anf -CX- 
with AdditiMu A A coauiiiii^ italn. nlanation. 

The actual 
evidence in the church, 
we believe, fully bears 
out the interpretation 
here suggested. What 
we have called the 
secondary order of 
columns would pass 
exactly beneath the 
posidon given to this 
wall. These columns 
on the gallery floor 
are very strong, and 
a very strong row of 
arches nms along 
over them (see Fig. 
38). Moreover the 
curtain walls in every 
other instance 
throughout thechurch 
are flush with the 

That this space is not available to the interior .of S. Sophia 

214 S* SOPHIA 

has caused Choisy to critidse the design in this respect 
as ^^ a solution undecided, moyen terme^ fdcheux ; the lai|;e 
arches by a departure from ordinary rule being thrown on the 
outside so that the space covered by them was lost^ S. Sophia 
Salonica redressed this error/' We wonder that Choisy*s 
views as to the original base of the dome did not cause him 
to take the further step we have here suggested. The pre- 
sent form, in which the lateral arches support the square base 
of the dome, is at least a possible one ; but that the arches 
when they carried nothing and thus were actually vaults (as 
before shown by Choisy) were not filled with a screen but 
were mere arches twelve feet on soffite, lying agsunst the sides 
of the building seems inconceivable. In our Figure 34. we 
have amended Choisy 's view in this respect. Looking on these 
lateral arches as vaults we have filled them with a window 
like the western vault, and the harmony which results 
between the sides and the west end amply verifies our 
conclusions. One point further. The upper surface of the 
base of the dome on the west side should not be wholly level 
as shown in Fig. 34, the central third curves up following 
the line of the top of semidome. In other words, the great 
arch of the interior pushes itself up through the base of the 
dome, and this treatment thus recurred at various heights — 
over large windows of aisles, over western and lateral lunettes, 
as we have shown, and over the semidome. 

Originally, before the interior was narrowed in the way we 
have explained, there was a much clearer suggestion of a 
cross plan : barrel vaults at north and south being filled at their 
ends with large lunettes like the west vault. We suppose 
that the failure was mainly in the secondary order, and that 
the window screen and all possible weight was entirely 
removed and transferred to the great order. Salzenberg was 
satisfied that there had been great alterations in this part of 
the building, and Choisy's view of the window-wall, Plate 
XXV., entirely confirms his opinion. If it could be shown that 
the alteration spoken of by Agathias will not bear the inter- 
pretation we put on it, there were earlier troubles at this 
part mentioned by Procopius. The best proof, however, we 
suggest is found in the design. It has been before pointed 


out that Choisy and other writers have too hastily as- 
sumed that S. Sophia Salonica was built after the great 
church of Constantinople. That it preceded it enforces 
the present argument. Grelot (1680) writes that upper 
[alleries remaned in the church in these positions, but he 
^ased his assertion on the row of seven arched recesses 
just above the main cornice which he thought were formerly 
open. It is clear however from an examination of the section 
that the arches could only have opened to the vault of the 
first floor gynaeceum. That these small arches did open to 
the vault of the first floor, seems to be borne out by the 
fact that above the centre of the secondary order, where its 
arch is low, a similar pierdng is made, through which (or the 
higher arches on each side) and through the seven arches, a 
mysterious perspective into the immensity of the dome might 
have been obtained by those in the gynaeceum (see Figs. 4, 
369 3^)* Shallow arched recesses merely used decoratively 
seem to have been little known to early Byzantine art, and 
arches on the first floor through the great piers are blocked 
in a similar way. Moreover such openings would explain 
why the vault between the two orders of columns is so much 
stilted up into mere darkness. 

Atrium. — ^To explain the present confused arrangement of 
the exterior, we- must remember that from the time of the de- 
scription of the church by the Silentiary to its description by 
Gyllius was a thousand years — as long as from the time of 
Alfred to the present day — and in this time we may well 
expect alterations and accretions. 

In Chapter IX. we have shown that the present form of 
the exonarthex, with its great external piers, was an altera- 
tion, made about the time the belfry was added in the ninth 
century. Before that time the atrium was alike on all four 
sides — a true quadriporticus — one of the most beautiful 
features of the andent churches. (See Figs. 3 and 25.) 

North and South Porches. — Much of the confusion at the 
north-west and south-west angles is the result of Turkish 
attachments, including the western minarets, which were built 
in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. The plan of 
gynaeceum floor furnishes the best key to the former 

2i6 S. SOPHIA 

arrangement, for where there is Byzantine work above, it 
must once have existed below. Comparing the first floor 
and roof plans in Salzenberg with the ground plan, it 
becomes apparent that the main block was CMiginally finished 
both at north-west and south-west angles to the general 
square of building. The two staircases now at these angles 
were added as extra buttressing masses; the original stairs 
being the four in the piers of north and south sides. The 
north and south porches, with extra building above the latter 
on the first floor, were also additions. Besides the irr^ular- 
ity and inferior style of these buildings the following evidence 
should be noticed. The actual form of the north-west angle 
on the gallery floor ; and the natural reading of the three 
plans when laid one over the other ; broad arches, which 
pass across the porches ; the fact that the arch in south 
porch (dotted in C on Figure 24, see also Fossati, Plate i.) 
now has no ofiice ; and that above the door at this end of 
narthex, there is a window which now merely opens into the 
south porch. 

An examination of the exterior on the south side shows 
that the south-west stsdrcase was biult before the porch, 
or the part above it at least, because a str^ht Joint m the 
walling, and the form of the roofing, here clearly make 
evident that the apex of the gable roof was originally over 
the centre of the staircase, and that the slope has been 
subsequently run forward to cover the part above the 

In considering all the other irregularly attached buildings, 
together with the historical evidence, it seems clear that the 
church as designed and first built was externally a r^ular 
parallelogram, mterrupted only by the projection of the apse 
at the east end ; which was itself masked by a range of low 
chambers against the east wall, through which there were two 
entrances to the church as at present, and to which other two 
doors, in the east wall, still visible but now blocked, gave 
access. The other external doors, besides those from nartnex, 
being two on the north and one in the south wall ; tc^ether 
with two external doors at the gynaeceum level, one of which 
probably gave access to the gallery along which the emperor 


passed to the church, and the other, to the north, may have 
led to the cells of the clergy. 

Baptistery and Loggia.— 0( early buildings detached from 
the church we have die round buildmg at the north««ast, which 
we r^ard as having descended from the earlier church, and 
the south-west baptistery, with a loggia attached to its north 
side. The space between the churdi and the baptistery on 
plan looks like a covered way, leading from the church with 
a screen in the middle, but the part next the church is, and 
always must have been, open. The part next the baptistery 
is covered with a large semicylindrical vault, arched trans-- 
versely to the ** screen," and penetrated by a less cvlinder in 
the direction of the length of the loegia. Rebates (on 
baptistery side) round the doorway which stands between 
the pair of columns show that there was a door, and strips 
down the sides of the pillars, which stand above the tran- 
some, show that pierced slabs or other closures filled the 
arched front of the vault. If we add breast-high closures in 
the lateral openings, as in the portico of St. John Studius, the 
whole becomes an inclosed loggia against the baptistery. 
Salzenberg states that there waa a door in the north wall of 
baptistery, and Labarte places another in the western com- 
partment of south aisle of church, but for the latter there 
does not appear to be a particle of evidence ; and conse- 
quently the court and loggia cannot have formed a direct 
passage to the baptistery, i . Salzenberg on his plan draws 
the transverse axis of the baptistery, and that of the western 
bay of the church ; these do not agree by a foot or two, but 
the doorway of *^ screen " agrees with neither^ nor is it a mean 
between them, but varies by excess. 2. In the section 
(Salzenberg, Plate xi.) it is seen that the present level of 
floor in this l(^gia is that of baptistery, and is below that of 
church ; but the columns have no bases, therefore the l(^gia 
floor was beneath both church and baptistery. 3. A large 
arch is shown between the church and west pier of this loggia, 
from which it springs properly, while at the other end it 
is cut ofi^ incomplete by the wall of the church. These 
reasons together lead us to suggest that the Ic^gia is possibly 
older than the church, and that it may be a part of an arcade 

retuned when the present church was built. The style tyf the 
screen would nadHy allow of its bong twenty or thirty years 
older than S. Sotdiia. The cajntals are not fcnind ebewhoe in 
the church, while nmilar- ones form the chief order at S. 

l l 04 *•= 

Sergius ; and the door is inserted between the two columns, 
exacdy. {|s in the fprtico of SJ. John Studius. We do not 
however insist on its bang earlier than the church so much as 
on the evidence pointing to its being part of a continuous 
arcade (see plan, Fig. 39). Doubtless it might be de- 


termined from a careful examination whether the loggia or 
the baptistery was built first. 

The way by which the " Great Baptistery " was reached 
from the bema, as mentioned in the Ceremonies was probably 
by this cloister, which perhaps inclosed one of the courts on 
the sides of the church, spoken of by Procopius and the 
Silentiary. The portion drawn by Salzenberg still rem»ns, 
although sadly plastered over and mutilated. 


The geometrical scheme of this building, which in its 
final form must be the result of hundreds of adjustments, 
modifications, and expedients, to meet newly discovered 
emergendes, is withal so seemingly simple, that it may be 
read as a bare mechanical solution of the primary con(Utions. 

The great central area, excepting only the narrow bema, 
is surrounded by two stories of vaults ; the thrust of the 
dome over the square of about 100 feet is not only resisted 
by these, but by the four immense buttressing masses (or 
rather chambers for they are built hollow) which, pierced by 
arch^, pass right across the aisles. East and West the dome 
is sustained by the semidomes of the great hemicycles, and 
these in turn by the vaults of the three subcfivisions of the 
hemicycles. The thrusts are thus dbtributed in a riE£[ular 
pyramid. The external wall, which incloses the whole, 
being built out to the extremity of the great buttress piers - 
of the north and south sides, and the lesser piers east and 
west, is thus little more than a screen, inclosing the more 
active parts of the structure. 

One of the most remarkable expedients of this mar- 
vellously planned building is that by which the vaults of the 
side aisle^, — ^which, having large spans, necessarily spring 
comparatively low down — ^are received on the secondary 
order of columns, standing behind the pillars of thie great 
order. This allows of the stately colonnade on either side 
of t(he central space and those in the four exedras being only 
controlled by the height of the upper floor, which is forty- 

220 S. SOPHIA 

four feet above the area as is explained by Figs. 36, 38. 
These secondary pilars also transform the spaces left by the 
exedras into square compartments. 

Arch Forms.' — ^The great arches under the dome have their 
centres two feet six inches above the springing line. Those 
in the principal arcade appear to be semidrcular. In the 
adjoining exedras, the porphyry columns not being nearly so 
long as the green ones, they were set on pedestals, and the 
arches are *^ horseshoe" in form, at least towards the 
nave, for they are built ^* winding,'' so as to approach a square 
impost on th^ caps. We say approach, itx there is a 
gradual mocUfication; the caps being an inch or two wider 
towards the aisles, the impost increases this by a few inches 
more. The openings from gynaeceum at west end are 
s^;mental, some arches to the side windows and the lateral 
windows of west elevation, Fig. 25, are bluntly pointed. The 
transverse arching of narthex b semielliptiod, or rather 
three-centred, a s^ment with the curve at the ends quickened 
to become tangential to the wall. The pointed arch is used 
in the great aqueduct near G>nstantinople and in one of the 
city dstems : both appear to be of the age of Justinian.^ 

Vaulting. — ^The vaulting is executed with the mastery 
and freedom that comes of confidence in direct methods. 
Certsun portions are cylindrical, and others are formed by 
cylindri(^ cross-penetrations. The octagon of the bap* 
tistery, and the square compartments of the gynaeceum, are 
covered by domes which penetrate down into the angles with 
continuous pendentives. The larger compartments of the 
vaults of the aisles require some explanation. 

Where four semidrcular arches open about a square qr 
oblong space, and it is desired to make the vault conform 
exactly to them, this may be accomplished by a semispherical 
dome, the span of Which is equal to the diagonal of th^ 
compartment to be covered; such a vault presents an 

^ There is no doubt aboot these arches being truly pmted. They were 
drawn so by Dr. Covel abomt 1675, they appear so in the careful en- 
graving in Miss Pardoe's B$sfhirMs^ and these are fully confirmed by 
Strzygowski and Forchheimer, Die Wassirhihaher V9U K$nst4mtin9peX 
pp. 12 and 71. The use of the pointed arch in the east is probably an 
unbroken tradition firom early days in Egypt. 


unbroken sarfaec Or two cylindrical vaults may penetrate 
at right angles, when the vault is tnt>ken by the intersection 
into four sur&ces. At S, Sophia it was evidently denred 
to keep the springing high n»- the sake of the monolith 

Fia. 4(X— Conitniction of VulU. 

cdlumns, and yet to muntain, so far as posuble, a domical 

Thus in Fig. 40 the dome springing out of the angle 
requires the hdght a, the radius bang equal to half uie 
diameter ; but it was wished to flatten this to hy and yet for 

222 & SOPHIA 

the vault to rise everywhere from the arched line e^ c. Now 
if the vault conforms to the sur&ces generated by the 
revolution of the arc d^ /» b^ about the axis o^ dy intersecting 
with a similarly generated surface at right angles, we get a 
mean between the domed and cylindric^ forms — a domical 
vault The intersections, instead of being everywhere 
square on plan as at x, x, and rising just to the crown of the 
vault, as would be the case with cylindrical penetrations, will 
be obtuse as at /, i, and not rising so high will practically 
leave a large concave surface unbroken at the crown of the 
vault. This is the principle of the vaults of S. Sophia ; the 
gradations being gentle and the means less obvious, the 
fornis are more like those found in nature, and the result is 
extremely beautiful. The forms are further softened by 
every edge of arch and vault being rounded, so that the 
mosaic completely envelops the whole like a vast em- 
broidered gold tissue. 

There would be no difficulty in construction, for the 
vault falls everywhere on an arch in the angle ^, /, b that is 
in planes which are nuUi to the arch. The vaulting of the 
narthex is made up of a series of compartments, much nar- 
rower than the span, divided by plain arched bands. To 
meet the requirements of such oblong spaces two gauges 
would be needed. The " winding *' of the lines of inter- 
section was not to be feared, as tney were so soon lost in 
the more domical surface of the upper part of the vault. 

After the above was written we found the geometrical and 
practical construction of these vaults explained in VArt de 
Bdtir chez les Byzantins^ in a manner which differs from that 
here given. M. Choisy's method is first of all to design the 
curve of the intersection over the diagonal of the plan as a 
segment of a circle : then he considers all sections of each 
compartment of the vault, taken parallel to its arch, and 
therefore perpendicular to its axis, to be also segments of 
circles sprmgmg from a series of points on the diagonals, 
their centres being on the axis of each vault. 

We cannot agree with this, for, although theoretically the 
vault so conceived differs immaterially from the solution we 
have proposed, yet practically its erection would be full of 


difficulty. M. Choisy's method is that proposed by M. 
Viollet4e-Duc for the later Romanesque vaults, in which, 
the materials being poor rubble, centring must have been 
required. In these Viollet-de-Duc thinks that diagonal 
centres were used, and then planks were placed from them 
to the generating arches, and the additional height of a 
domical vault made up by a layer of earth. It is to be 
noticed that diagonal centres in this case almost immediately 
produced diagonal stone ribs. 

M. Choisy in his most interesting book shows that the 
chief consideration in the construction of the Byzantine 
vaults was to avoid wooden centring. With this view we 
entirely agree, but in the system explained in VArt de BdHr^ 
the lines of construction would be arrived at by an elaborate 
system, which required fixed axes to the vaults and either a 
diagonal centre or a rod revolving in a vertical plane over 
the diagonal. Then two rods, mrming an angle with its 
apex touching any given point in the diagonal curve and 
the ends resting on the axis of the vault as a base, revolved 
as a trammel for that course of the filling. This had to be 
repeated for a series of points. 

By the method we have su^ested nothing was required 
except a single template to a fixed angle, the upper arm cut 
to the curve from the crown of the ardi to the crown of the 
vault ; we may suppose this to sweep round the generating 
arches like a trammel, but practically testing the work with 
it at the crown, as it gradually grew forward, was doubtless 
found suffident (see Fig. 40). Thus the vault surfaces gave 
the conditions of the problem and the intersections found 

We did not notice the curious ** curve of inflection " of 
which M. Choisy speaks; certsunly it does not generally 
exist, although according to L'Jrf de Bdtir **S. Sophia 
is the most curious example which remains of this singular 
conception, where the spirit of Greek logic did not hesitate 
before anomalies of form** (p. 55). We believe this curve 
is deduced only by the logic with which M. Choisy's follows 
up his method of geometrical projection, which certainly 
generates such an inflected curve. We cannot say this 

224 • S. SOPHIA 

without at the same time expressinK our great adnuration for 
VArt de Bdtir; its freshness of ^ght, clearness, vitality, 
and logic are entirely delightful. Strzygowski and Forch- 
heimer ^ follow Choisy's demonstration ; and give an 
elaborate and analytical explanation of the curve and its 
points of inflexion. One of the cisterns they say showed 
the inflected line in the axial sections of the vaults (p. 71). 

Now the dstem vaults are roughly built and some of 
them may have settled down ; some indeed may have been 
designed so that the axial section is horizontal for some 
distance from the walls before the doming is commenced, 
especially in the long direction of parallelogramic compart- 
ments. The essential points are two. Did these vaults 
grow forward from the walls and the intersections find 
themselves, or was the curve of intersection first deigned ? 
Are horizontal sections through the intersection of two 
vault surfaces just above the springing obtuse or acute? 
The vaults at S. Sophia have the angles of intersection so 
obtuse that this first drew our attention to the subject. 

For a general view of the vaulted system of S. Sophia we 
would especially refer to Choisy, whose remarks on the 
construction of these vaults are most interesting. He 
clearly shows how the large flat bricks made possible the 
construction of vaults without centring. fThe extrados of 
the arches from which the vaults spring bong splayed to a 
skew back, the lai^ surfaces of the thin light bncks allowed 
them to be stuck up against thb skew back, or any part 
already done, much as if they were square sheets of card- 
board (see left side of Fig. 40). Indeed the bricks seem 
sometimes to have been placed quite vertically, but the 
better plan seems to have been to incline the beds, the vaults 
were tnus built in secHons rather than in layers. To take 
the simplest instance, a cylindrical vault, the arching would 
begin at one end against the vertical wall, the rings of large 
thin bricks being placed ** on edge '* in planes of say 60* 
right down the vault. In other words, in a longitudinal 
section of such a vault the joints instead of being horizontal 
might be vertical, or a mean between the two. This method 

1 DU Wasserhebalter^ p. 1 30, &c. 




was known in ancient Egypt and at Khorsabady and the im- 
mense vault at Cte^phon is built in this way. Although 
the mosaic covers most of the vaults at S. Sophia, a vast 
number are exposed in the contemporary dstems» and Choisy 
seems to have found a cylindri<»I vault uncovered in a 
chamber in one of the buttress masses (Plate ii.), he also 
shows the construction of the aisle and narthex vaults (Plates 
ix. and xi.), but he does not say if he had any authority 
for these. We agree with him that the vaults of S. Sophia 
owe much of thdr exceptional beauty to the fact that arches 
do not break up the curving expanse of the vaulting to any 
appreciable degree ; in the narthex the arches become . one 
with the vault, see Fig. 41. 

Fio. 43.^Dome Construcdon. * 

Dames. — In elaborating his theory of Byzantine dome 
construction Choisy refers to a passage in Eton's Turkish 
Empire ^ which describes domes the latter saw built without 
any kind of centring. The builders put a post in the 
middle about the height of the walls. To this is fixed a 
pole reaching to the inside surface of the dome, which is 
fi-ee to move in all directions. Below is attached to the post 
another pole, which reaches to the outside and describes the 
outside curvature of the cupola. These give the thickness 
at the top and bottom and at every intermediate point. 
** Where they bmld these cupolas of bricks they use gypsum 
instead of lime, finishing one layer all round before they 
b^;m another. Scaffolding is only required for the workmen 
to close the opening at the top." Our diagram a, Fig. 42, 
represents this fasdnating scheme of bmlding : with such a 
rod any point in the whole curvature is defined in a moment ; it 
equally gauges the horizontal courses and the rise of the dome. 

I 1799, p. 236. 


ChcMsy suggests a second scheme which will be made clear 
by B. There is no reason, he points out, why the beds of the 
bricks in a dome should radiate to the centre of the curve : 
in the Byzantine domes the beds were flattened so that they 
radiated more or less accurately to the spriji^ng of the 
oppodte side of the dome. The thrusts were thus mini- 
mised, and the construction was facilitated. If rods forming 
a triangle revolve about a vertical post as shown, the 
horizontal curvature is gauged and the top rod will define 
the slope for the bed. These rods can then be raised to 
another position as shown in the figure. We should have 
supposed that little care would be taken with the slope of 
the beds, as from the thin bricks used the construction 
practically became homogeneous. 

Choisy even thinks that the great dome of S. Sophia may 
have been built in the air without centring, c, in Fig. 42, 
gives his representation of the construction of the semi- 
domes, which he thinks were built out some way entirely 
without support. The outer arch was then built on a centre 
and the filling completed ** in space " (a straight joint be- 
tween the arch and the dome filling is shown m the figure 
in Salzenberff's text). We think it more likely that in all 
the larger domes awdliary support was required ** to close 
the opening at the top," when the space had been so con- 
tracted that a light centring resting on the port already 
completed was all that would be needed. 

From the importance attached to wood ties or girdles built 
into the small domes . of Mount Athos, we may be certain 
that some system of chaining was applied to the great dome 
of S. Sophia. Choisy sives an example of the former, and 
also a dome constructed by interlocking semidrcular bricks, 
" two courses of which make a drclet absolutely inextensible.'* 
See B in Fig;. 45. The dome of S. Vitale at Ravenna is built 
of layers of earthenware pots or tapering tubes, the end of one 
fitting into the next and rising in a continuous spiral course, 
round and round from the bottom to the crown of the dome. 

The question of dome construction without centring is of 
the greatest interest, and much might doubtless be gathered 
of the traditional methods still followed in modern Greece, 

Q 2 

228 S. SOPHIA 

Egypt, Pema» and S. Italy. Our Fig. 43 represents modern 
domes in Per^ the upper diagram being an ordinary type 
of exterior from a photograph of Koum. The dome beneath. 
Fig. 44, is from a sketch made in a Persian caravansenu by 
Mr. Wm. Simpson,^ who describes it as built of burnt brick, 
square below, round above. ** As I was told that centring 
was never used in Persia I presume this one was constructed 
without it'' This beautiful form may be considered as four 
conical sauinches penetrating a hemisphere as at a, or as 
a gradual tran^tion from square to round, b. Andent 
Persian domes of substantially the same form, in which a 
hemisphere penetrates a pyramid, are shown by Dieulafoy.^ 

Chainage and WaUing.-^hi the East the frequency of 
severe earthquakes necessitated a manner of construction 
which should resist disruption. The massive walls of stone 
of the Clas^c period are cramped together with metal. The 
stcme Byzantine church at Ezra has a course of interlocking 
stones forming a chain around the octagcm beneath the dome 
(Fig. 45 a). At S. Sophia the continuous courses of stone 
some feet above the floor, menticmed by Salzenberg, are 
almost oertsunly converted into a chain by cramps ; and the 
stone course at the springing of the great arches probably 
has the same function, ui brickwork lateral cohesion was 
usually obtained by a system of continuous wood ties, which 
is described by Choisy as built into the wall at every five or 
six feet of height. Acccxding to the Greek architect, M. 
Kouppas, ties of bond timbers were used in this way in the 
construction of the cisterns, ^^ laid not only along the outside 
walls but also in parallel rows beneath the lines of pillars and 
arches ; " other rows of timber were bmlt in either as ties or 
struts in continuous lines at the springing of the vaults. 

At S. Sophia there was doubtless a large use made of tem- 
porary ties of this kind during the construction. In many 
places at the springing of the gynaeceum vaults the ends oif 
such provisional ties, which have been sawn away, appear. 
Besides these there is a series of wood beams which from the 

* j9umalofR9j. Inst. Brit. Arcbts.^ Jan. 1893. 
' See also p. 247, 1892, for the conditions of stability of dome of S. 


Fioi. 43 uid 44. — Modern Dome* tniilt witiwitt Centring. 

z$o 8. SOPHIA 

first were intended to be permanent, for they are richly 
carved (c in Fig. 45) ; these are shown by double lines on 
the right-hand »de of Figs. 5 and 6, the single lines showing 
the iron ties. These carved beams, as Choisy points out, are 
struts rather than ties. If we take one of the columns stand- 
ing in an angle in the sdsles, an impost of marble connects it 
with the wall to which it is nearest, and a carved wood beam 
forms a strut to the other wall. The beam across the central 
bay of secondary order (Fig. 5) forms a rigid strut to the 
two wider arches (see Fig. 38, where, however, by over^ht 
the beam has been omitted ; it is at the springing of narrow 
arch high above ircm tie). Choisy asserts that *^ the architect 
intended to preser v e only the struts, ^all the ties subject to 
exten^on were removed, but their suppression was disastrous, 
and they had hasdly to replace them oy bars of iron which 
were fixed with difliculty.** We do not know what reason 
Chdsv had for supposing the system of ircm ties to be an 
afterthought, unless it is because in some cases they appear 
directly above the ends of the removed wooden ties. Now 
we believe they occur equally above the carved beams in the 
openings from the gallery to the nave, and there is no sign 
of wood ties having been removed firom the ground-floor 
vaults, where the iron bars fulfil such an important function. 
It is certun that the iron bars to all the nave arches are 
ori^nal, for the marble casing shows no sign of alteration, 
and they are evidently threaded continuomly through the 
imposts. The important iron ties across the aisles are 
shown in Fig. 45 : a is the attachment to thd jcolumn of great 
order, e to impost of secondary order behind it, / is a king 
rod. Across we west gallery the span is lessened by stone 
corbels beneath the ties g. 

With a view of binding the vaults and walls together into 
a homogeneous mass, the arched vaulting of the interior was 
carried through the thickness *of the walls : in some cases 
these arches were left open, to be afterwards filled with a 
screen of windows. The walling of the sides of the church 
is built independently of the great piers, as straight joints on 
the exterior show, and Choisy remarks that the independence 
of masonry unequally charged was a leading idea in Byzantine 



« • 

/^•/?^ /^ /TV n 


Fia 45.— Method* of Chainage 


construction ; indeed it is obviously necessary where the 
quantity of mortar is so great that the brick at tunes becomes 
secondary to the joints. 

Mortar and Cement. — ^The mortar used by the Byzantine 
builders was called Keramotos, from the crushed pottery or 
tiles which was used in its composition. In an article in the 
Transactions of the Philological Society of G)nstantinople M. 
Kouppas^ enters fully into the methods wluch have been 
tracUtionally followed in dstem building, and describes this 
mortar as formed of powdered unslaKed lime {ashes tos)^ 
crushed pottery, coarse sand, and tow or hair, fully a third 
being lime, another third the crushed pottery, about a fifth 

^ *BXX7r. 4>iXoX. SvXX. ira^Mip. vol. zz., 1891. 


the coarse sand, and the rest or lo per cent, of hair or tow. 
These were then mixed together in water. 

M. Kouppas also descnbes a hydraulic cement made of 
** coarse lime {Htanos) slaked by water into powder, sifted and 
laid in layers with cotton shreds. This was thoroughly 
mixed, and then olive oil was poured in, and the whole 
gradually brought to a homogeneous mass.** Andreossy^ 
describes a mixture (called lukium) made of a hundred 
" ocques '* of lime, freshly slaked in the form of powder, 
twenty-five " ocques " of linseed oil of the best quality, and 
twenty drachms of filaments of cotton." This was reduced 
to a dough, and then before using fresh oil was added. 
Strzygowski ^ also speaks of a Turkish cement ** of six parts 
by weight linseed oU, eight parts slaked and powdered lime, 
and one part of cotton." He refers to a Roman mixture 
mentioned by Pliny of " oil and quicklime.'* 

By far the best and earliest account of the methods used 
for obtaining lime and making cement at G>nstantifiople is 
contained in Dr. G>vers MS. in the Bridsh Museum 
(1670-7). The lime was burnt in a pit dug in the ground, 
the stone, which was hard and black and like ** Plymouth 
stone,** being jnled up in and above it like a. beehive hut, an 
opening bdng contrived in the side for inserting fuel, and ^a 
smaller pit dug in the middle for the ashes ; it was fired for 
three days. Then he describes in detail how a cement was 
made which recalls what the Anonymous savs of the joints 
of the piers at S. Sophia being made or unslkked lime 
{asbestos) and oil : ** To make good luldum (a strong 
cement as I may call it) they take the above said calx or 
burnt stone and slake it with water, and so soon as it is 
moulded and turned into a meal' (even while it is warm) they 
work it with linseed oil and cotton tilP it is weH saturated 
and brought to the consistency of plaster, and make present 
use c^ it, for it will not rest in its perfection above one day 
or two at most, and if they use it immediately after it is 
tempered it is certainlj the best. In- the works of their 
Bagnos so soon as it is' laid on [as a plastering; understood 

1 P. 485. 

* DU Byzantinischen Wasserhehaltir^ p. X2. 


here] they let the water come to it, which, by tempering the 
heat of the lime, hinders it from cracking. Cotton is better 
to be mixed amongst it than hsur, it bong more tenacious 
and apt to incorporate/' He again describe a similar cement 
(*^ lukium, an excellent mortar ' ) used in some waterworks. 
It is made of unslaked lime and beaten brick most finely 
powdered and sifted, cotton wool very thinly pulled and 
strewed on, and then all slaked with linseed oil and mixed 
together : then they use it whilst it is fresh made, otherwise it 
hardens immediately.'' ^ Such a cement must have had the 
hardening qualities of gesso ; the oil cements or mastics used 
in England some fifty years ago were closely allied in their 
composition. Modem mortar has lost much by our n^lect- 
ing the tradition of usbg crushed brick. 

Eastern builders spared neither labour nor time in pre- 
paring and testing their materials. Tavemier tells us the 
waterproof terraces of the Persian houses were formed of ** a 
layer of lime beaten for eight days, which became hard like 
marble." The materials used in Byzantine building were 
tested by long exposure, slaked lime was sealed up in pits for 
one or two years ; and stones, bricks, and tiles they had found 
should not be used new, for, as Vitruvius says, " the only 
way of ascert^ing thdr goodness is to try them through a 
summer and winter." 

^ In another pkceCovel gives the following. Lukium — unslaked lime, 
burnt brick (both in a fine powder), cotton wool very fine pulled and 
strewed on, linseed oil. Cistern plaister — Lime^ burnt brick, cotton or 
flax, water [use] almost dry, smooth ft and saturate with oil. 



The method and sequence of the building operations as 
followed by the Byzantines seem to have been very much as 
follows. After the form of the building had been more or 
less dedded, the first thing necessary was to collect marble 
monolithic shafts. At S. Sophia the eight verde-antique 
shafts match one another very closely ; they are all of one 
length, and vary from 7^ to 8 diameters in proportion. The 
four pairs of porphyry shafts in the exedras differ much 
more ; and, as we have remarked, those in the western exedras 
seem to be made up of separate drums. The proportions of 
these vary from less than 7 diameters on one side to 8^ on 
the other. The great monoliths are the largest known, and 
of nearly normal classic proportion, so we can readily see that 
it was necessary to have a certain knowledge where such 
marbles might be quarried or otherwise obtained, before even 
the foimdations were prepared, for the colunuis decided the 
heights and points of support of the builcUng. These once 
assured, the txxly of the structure was proc^ded with as a 
brickwork shell without ftuther dependence on the masons, 
who were only required to prepare bases and capitals, and 
then the cornices ; everything else was completed as a brick 
" carcase." 

At S. Sophia the nrnn square piers are in fact stone, but 
this was only for strength, not because they were to be seen 
finally, any more than the rough brick. 


The building completed in this form we must remember 
was made up of vast masses of thin bricks, of which the 
mortar occupied probably a half of the aggregate ; this had 
to thoroughly settle down and dry before the rest of the 
marble masonry was inserted, and the wall casings applied 
The marble work, however, was all the while being prepared, 
and, the building once ready, the windows were inserted as 
screens in the openings previously left ; marble jambs and 
lintels for the doors were placed in position also, with 
windows above them filling out to the brick arches. The 
walls were then sheeted with their marble covering, the 
vaults were overlaid with mosaic, and the pavement was laid 
down. In this way, as the bricklayers had not to wait for 
the maisons, the carcase was completed in the shortest possible 
time ; and by reserving the application of the marble imtil 
the structure was dry and solid, it was possible to bring 
together unyielding marble and brickwork that must have 
settled down very considerably. 


Much conftision exists as to the marbles of which the 
andent writers speak ; this has been occasioned necessarily by 
wrong identifications when but few ancient quarries had been 
recovered, and most unnecessarily by a persistence in using 
antique names for modern varieties, long after the true 
provenance, has been discovered, when the ancient marbles are 
not ** in the market.'^ It is the Italian names that have been 
corrupted in this way, and it would be a great advantage if 
they were discarded in England, or better stul, used only in 
conjunction with the geographical names. In this case as 
the Italian names are descriptive, and, as many varieties of 
marble are found in the same or neighbouring quarries, we 
should get a safe nomenclature. Synnadan would thus be 
qualified as Pavonazzetto or Fior de Persico, and the banded 
varieties from Carystian, Proconnesian, or modem quarries 
might without confusion be called cipoUino. 

In endeavouring to identify the marbles mentioned by the 

236 S. SOPHIA 

andent writer on S. Sophia, we have made use of Salzenberg*s 
notes to the Poem of the Silentiary, and of the researches of 
Garofalo,^ G>rsi»^ and C. O. MuUer ; ' and we have also been 
helped by the practical knowledge of Mr. W. Brindley. The 
account of andent marbles easily accessible in Professor 
Middleton*s Ancient Rame^ 1892, is substantially an extract 
from Corsi. 

Porphyry. — ^The " porphyry powdered with bright stars " 
of the poet is used for the columns of the exedras, and for 
some of the panels on the walls. The Anonymous author 
states that these columns came from a temple of the Sun, but 
the Silentiary says ** they loaded the boats on the bosom of 
the Nile,'* and there seems no reason to doubt that the 
colunms came direct from the porphyry quarries at Mons 
Porphyrites in Egypt. This porphyry mountain is at Djebel 
Dochan, twenty-five miles noith-east from Thebes. Lepsius ^ 
seems to prove that the quarries were worked as long as the 
>nie canal remained open ; and slups still sailed on t£e canal 
till the appearance of Islam. Letronne ^ gives det^ls of the 
method of transit The porphyry was brought from the 
quarry to the Red Sea, ana then by the Nile canal to the 
Lx)wer Nile, and hence into the Mediterranean. 

On this evidence we would say that the porphjrry used 
at Constantinople in Justinian's reign was quarried for the 
purpose, and not brought from Roman buildings. 

Marmor Molossium. — "The marble that the land of 
Atrax yields," is called elsewhere in the poem " Thessalian," 
and, from the province in Thessaly where it was found, 
** Molossian." Corsi and Garofalo both wrongly describe 
Molossian as Fior di Persico. The marble really is the 
brecdated serpentine and limestone, now called Verde 
Antico, the Lapis jitracius of the andents, of which the 
eight great columns in the nave and many others are formed. 
Here ag^ it has been ssud that these eight large columns 
were tdcen from a building at Ephesus, but the Silentiary 

^ BiasH Cary^phili ofusculum de antiquis marmoribus^ I743- 

* Trattan delU pietre antiche^ 18^3. 

* Jndent Art. * Chrimohgte V9n Bgjptitt^ p. 365. 
^ Revue des deux Mondei^ 1841. 


says, *^ Never were such columns hewn from sea*washed 
Molossis/' and we can hardly doubt that they were quarried 
especially for S. Sophia, together with the rest of the 
enormous quantity used in the church. The quarries were 
near Atrax in Thessaly, and the marble is best named as by 
French writers, Thessalian green. 

Lapis Lacedaemonius. — *^The fresh green, like emerald, 
from Sparta,'* was probably the porphyry quarried in 
Mount Taygetus in Laconia. This green porphyry, called 
by Corsi serpentina^ is used in the opus sectile of S. Sophia. 
As a green porphyry is obtainable in Egypt, the former 
should be distinguished as Spartan. 

Proconnesium. — "The hills of Proconnesus," according 
to Paulus, " strewed the floor." The same marble was also 
used for the columns in the upper aisles, for the eight 
square colunms below, and for the capitals, door frames, 
wmdow lattices and other structural parts ; also for the 
plating of the lower arcade and other parts of the wall- 
surfaces, and as frames to the coloured marbles. It is a soft 
white, or white with gray-banded streaks. The quarries 
of Marmora are still worked. This marble was greatly 
prized in Classic times, and Pliny mentions that it was used 
at the palace of Mausolus, where, it is said, the method of 
plating brick walls with marble was first applied. It closely 
resembles gray Carystian but they should not be con- 

"The Bosporus stone with white streaks on black,** 
used for the floor, was probably the ordinary limestone — 
black with white veins — used at Constantinople. 

Marmor CarysHum. — " The fresh green from Carystus," 
is the marble now known as dpoUino ; it was quarried at 
Carystus, at the foot of Mount Ocha, in the island of 
Euboea. Its beautiful greenish white surface, marked with 
broad wavy lines of green or purplish gray, was often 
praised by the later classical writers. Its resemblance to 
the markings of a sliced onion is the origin of its name. 
Modem cipoUino need not be confused witia true Carystian 
marbky which the ancient material should always be named. 

Marmor Phrygium. — "The marble hewn from the 

238 S. SOPHIA 

Phrygian land towards the Mygdonian heights/* spoken 
of as "many-coloured," has been identified as the marble 
which came from Dokimion near Synnada in Phrygia. The 
descriptions by Statius and Claudianus of the deep red- 
veined marble of Synnada agree closely with the Phrygian 
and Mygdonian stone as described by Paulus. It is a 
brecciated marble of a rosy colour, slabs of which alternate 
with verde antique in the panelling of the side aisles of 
S. Sophia. 

The quarries at Dokimion were visited by Leak£ and 
Texier, and a recent examination of them by M. Leonti ^ 
disclosed all shades of " violet and white, yellow, and the 
more familiar brecciated white and rose-red' This beauti- 
ful material is best called Synnadan, as the modem Italian 
name Pavonazzetto is also used for the streaked marble 
quarried at Carrara. 

Marmor Hierapolitanum. — **The stone from the sacred 
city Hierapolis." This marble has been identified by 
Professor Ramsay.^ It was found at Thiounta about ten 
miles N,W, of Hierapolis in Asia Minor. It is variegated 
like Synnadan, and was much used for sarcophagi ; indeed 
Professor Ramsay says, " On every occasion when its use is 
mentioned, it was employed to make sarcophagi." It was 
called by the name of the great city which is not far distant, 
" and to which doubtless orders from the outer world were 
sent. Similarly the marble found at Dokimion was always 
called Synnadic marble from the time of Strabo, yet Dolu- 
mion was thirty-two miles from Synnada." 

Marmor lassense. — The " lassian, with slanting veins of 
blood-red on livid white," was used for the phiale. Corsi 
identifies this with Porta Santa, but Porta Santa, Garofalo 
says, came from Chios, and this conclusion we believe is now 
accepted. Garofalo thought lassian to be the same as the 
Carian marble mentioned by Porphyrogenitus in his Life of 
Basil the Macedonian^ and says it was quarried on the island 
quite close to the coast of Caria. A ** stone mingled with 
streaks of red " is also mentioned by Paulus as brought from 

^ In MS. notes lent by Mr. Brindley. 
* Histor. Geography of Asia Minor ^ P* 433* 


'^ the Lydian Creek/* Possibly the port of lassus is again 
intended. The ordinary Lapis Lydius was a black touch- 
stone. The " rosy dpoUino," in which wide bands of deep 
red alternate with white, used in the panelling of the ^es 
does not seem to be mentioned spedfically by Paulus; 
unless this is the lasdan marble to which his words would 
very well apply. A variety of rosy cipoUino, the splendidly 
figiu^ red and white marble, is obtained in Laconia. 

Marmor Numidicum. — " The stone, nurtured in the hills 
of the Moors, crocus colour glittering like gold,** is the 
beautiful warm yellow African marble from Semittu 
G)lonia, about fifty miles from Tunis, so highly prized by 
the Romans, and now called giallo antico. It is used in 
S. Sophia in the sectile work. 

Marmor CelHcum. — "The product of the Celtic crags, 
like milk poured on a flesh of glittering black,** has 
been identified as the Bianco e Nero Antico, quarried in 
the Pyrenees.^ The black marble with white streaks, 
which occurs in some of the panels in the nave, is probably 
the one to which the poet refers. 

Onychites. — " The precious onyx '* mentioned by the 
poet is the alabastrites or onychites of the andents. It is 
the oriental alabaster (aragonite) used in the horizontal 
bands of the nave, and some of the panels. It is a translu- 
cent, fibrous stalagmite formation, generally of a dear 
honey-colour. Some of the varieties are strongly veined 
with white, and others are much darker. Large andent 

3uarries of this Egyptian alabaster have been discovered on 
le east bank of the Nile. 

Paulus appears to make no mention of the dusky black 
with dull golden veins used in the bema apse, which dosely 
resembles the " Porto Venere '* quarried at Spezzia. 

The marble blocks were roughly hewn into shape with 
picks while still attached to the rock, and were then separ- 
ated by the sud of metal wedges. Many objects discovered 
show that they were sometimes completed at the quarry, at 
other times the blocks were roughly brought to the sizes 
and forms required. The quarries appear to have been 

^ See Boni, who corrects Corsi, in La Basilica di San Marco. 

offidally inspco- 
ted. Texier 
found many ar- 
chitectural frag- 
ments and blocks 
at Dokimion 
bearing thengns 
cf the inspectors 
of the block. 
Professor Ram- 
say writes: "The 
route fixun Do- 
kinuon to the 
coast is com- 
merdally almost 
the most import- 
ant in Asia 
Minor. The 
road along which 
the enormous 
monolithic col- 
umns were trans- 
ported passed 
where the central 
office for manag- 
ing the quarries 
was situated." 

Ephesus and 
Alexandria were 

Fic 46.— Marble SUbs and Frieze in Nuthex. mOSt important 

centres for the 
working and export of marble, of which such an enor- 
mous quantity was required by the Byzantine builders. 
The method of slicing up the blocks into veneer is described 
by an Eastern pilgrim, Nasiri Khusrau, in 1047. He 
says : " In the city of Ramlah there is marble in plenty 
.... they cut the marble here with a toothless saw 
which is worked with Mekkah sand." This eand he 


Fia. 47.~-Fortioa of Maible Linmg of Aitlet. Scale «bont '-fy. 

24* S. SOPHIA 

tells us came from Hdfk near Acre (Pal. Pilgrims' Text 
Soc. Compare Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxvi.) 


At S. Sophia the application of the thin sheathing and 
incrustations (the "crustae** of Pliny) of the "delectable 
variety " of marbles is made in many ways. First there are 
the large sheets of the grayish Proconne^an, opened out 
side by gide " so that the veining of one follows from the 
next/' Then the richer varieties are set in bands and panels 
with narrow notched fillets between them, and still more 
precious slabs are framed round with carved margins of white. 
Over the doors entering the sdsles at the west there are 
panels with especially Wide and rich borders of meanders 
growing from chalices. The large panels are very often of 
two pieces with matched veining. Fig. 46 shows one of 
a row of strongly veined panels from the narthex with the 
frieze above. All the wall plating is arranged with delight- 
ful variety as to size, and in the alternate placing of light 
against dark, so that there is no rigidity or over-accurate 
" setting out." 

Besides this constant change of size, colour, and arrange- 
ment, there is a great variety in the surface treatment. We 
have the shallow channelling into continuous mouldings of 
the skirtings, some portion of which has a stiff fret sunk in 
the surface in addition. Then there are panels on either 
side of the great door, and on the faces of the projections 
from the great piers in the aisles, coming just above the eye, 
(Fig. 48) of plain russet-red or brown which bear severe 
abstract patterns, made out by slight sinking into the sur- 
face. The centre in some cases is overlaid with an oval or 
square of another precious material such as red or green 
porphyry or the " onyx ** ; the whole of the sunk portions 
may have been filled by inlays, or in some the sinking alone 
may have formed the design. The upper part of the bema 
is incrusted with slabs patterned in this way, and here the 
sunk portions are entirely inlaid ; several parts of this are 
represented by Salzenberg. In this work " casements " arc 


sunk into the rosso or other deep coloured fields and green 
porphyry and other materials, set off by yellowish-white 
lines and spaces are inlud in geometrical panels, or friezes 
of stiff foliage. 

Our Fig. 47 shows the arrangement of the marble plating 
on the ^reat pers towards the middle compartment of the 
aisles ; m this we have shown one of the enriched panels 
now only sunk, as inlaid. Fig. 48 gives outlines of others of 
these panels. The marble used in the ^sles is as follows. 
First comes the moulded skirting of white Pi'oconnesian, 
then a 2^*2" ^^^ of the streaked variety of the same marble. 
A band of verde antique i^'o' wide follows, above which is a 
row of slabs alternately verde antique and Synnadan. A 
second sinular row of slabs comes above a band of rosy 
dpollino. The frieze below the cornice is of marble sectile 
work. The passages through the piers are lined with slabs 
of streaked Proconnesian marble, nearly fourteen feet high. 

The gynaeceum has two bands at the bottom and an 
upper band of rosy dpollino; the wall space between is 
covered with a row of vertical slabs of streaked Proconnesian, 
except the central space on north side where the slabs are of 
rosy dpollino. In the spandrils of gynaeceum arcade at 
the west are roimdels of oriental alabaster. 

Directly over the Royid Door is a very bea'&tiful arrange- 
ment of decorated slabs. First there is sin immense upright 
piece of verde antique in the middle, ten or twelve feet high, 
with two lateral horizontal pieces making a great cross, 
in the quarters of which are panels with sunk and inlaid 
desiQ;ns. At the head of the cross is a fifth panel which 
displays a still richer form of decoration. It represents 
a vaulted recess or ciborium between the columns of which 
hang curtains, looped back, and displaying a dark field. 
Here is the matrix of a cross which was probably of silver ; 
right and left of the cross are other matrices, in which were 
set crowns or other objects, not to be determined from 
below. The two upper lateral panels have sunk geometrical 
designs. The lower psur are inlaid ; their centres are 
charged with circles, above and below which are pairs 
of Qolphins. These inlaid designs are made out in por- 

R 2 

Fia. 48.— Marble Ptuwli wilh Snnk aod Inlnid rKoela, Scale abont A- 


Fis. 49.— Inlaid Marble Slabi above Ro<r«l Door. SoJe about A. 

246 S. SOPHU 

phjrry and green, which are separated by white lines and 
spaces which shine out bright, and are probably of mother 
of pearl like similar inlaid panels of this date around the 
apse at Parenzo. These panels at Parenzo are so much like 
those of S. Sophia that we do not doubt they were sent 
from G)nstantinople. There are very similar panels in the 
baptistery at Ravenna. 

Finally we have the enriched surfaces of the two ranges 
of arcade spandrils. The upper row being sectile work of 
coloured morsels put together to form a pattern of scrolls 
and foliage, and liie lower series having the smface entirely 
sculptured with the exception of discs of predous substance 
which are set in them. 

Tlus uttermost splendour is quiet and soft in its result. 
The surface of course has not that mechanically even, 
repellently smooth, p^fully fitted appearance of modern 
work. The planes are waved under' the hand sawing, and 
the face is smooth but hardly polished. The colour in 
consequence, gray and russet rising to full yellow, green 
and reds, veined, waved, and flowered in all manner 
of gradations and lovely combinations, vibrates with a 
wonderful *^ bloom '* which doubtless owes much to age ; 
but it is very probable that the marble was polished with 
wax encaustic which was so generally used for finishing 
surfaces by ancient workers. The wax deepens and mellows 
the colour and leaves a dull pleasant polish. We suppose 
the method followed was that recommended by Vitruvius 
for the encaustic poUslung of coloured stucco walls. ^^ Lay 
on with a brush a coat of melted Punic wax tempered with 
oil ; then with a brazier of hot charcoal heat all the waxed 
surface, forcing the wax to melt in an even way over the 
whole surface ; finally rub the wall with a wax candle and 
then polish it with a clean linen cloth just in the way the 
nude marble statues are treated This practice is called ^dvo^at^ 
by the Greeks." Felix Fabri, who travelled in Palestine at 
the end of the fifteenth century, describes the rows of costly 
columns at Bethlehem, ** and they are polished with oil so 
that a man can see his face in them as in a mirror.'* 

In regard to the wall plating we msh especially to point 


out the extremely easy way in which it is applied, without 
thought of disguise. The slabs of great size are placed 
vertically, entirely the reverse of solid construction ; more- 
over the slabs of the finer panels are opened out side by 
side so that the veinings appear in symmetrical patterns. 
At the angles the lap shows in the most open way ; while it 
is mitred where restored-. The best account of the actual 
methods of fixing the marble slabs to walls by metal clamps 
which notch into the edges of the sheet before the adjoining 
one is fixed, is given by Professor Middleton, who figures 
an example of the second century from Rome which might 
belong to S. Sophia. 


After more than a thousand years of working marble 
through one complete development, Greek builders, by 
considering afresh the prime necessities of material, and 
a rational sjrstem of craftsmanship, opened the great quarry 
of ideas in constructive art which is exhaustless. In a 
hundred years architecture became truly organic^ features 
that had become mere " vestiges " dropped away, and a new 
style was complete ; one, not perhaps so completely winning 
as some forms of Gk)thic, but the supremely logicd building 
art that has been. 

If anywhere this vitalising had not been completed, it 
would have been in the more decorative forms ; but here we 
find no mere exercise in applying architectural orders, every- 
thing is as real and fresh as in the structure. Having the 
Corinthian and Ionic capitals before their eyes and without 
forgetting or rejecting them, the Byzantine builders invented 
ana developed an entirely fresh group of capitals fitted in 
the most perfect way for arched brick construction. As 
Mr. Freeman has s^d (Hist. Essays^ iii. p. .61) of the new 
architecture : " The problem was to bring die arch and 
column into union — ^in other words to teach the column 
to support the arch." This was done by shaping the 
block of marble which formed the capital so that a simple 


transidon from the squ&rc block to 
the drcle of the column was formed. 
When they were sculptured, and most 
of them are most daborately sculp- 
tured, the general fonn is not altered 
but the earring enriches the surface 
only. The new " Impost capatal " is 
found throughout the great dstem 
generally known as that of Fhil- 
oxenus wWch is usually referred to the 
time of Constantine. In thur study 
of the vaulted cisterns of Constand- 
nople Forchheimer and Strzygowski 
have contributed much that is new to 
our knowledge of the architecture of 
the city and show that the evidence 
is entirely agunst this theory, which 
was propoumled by Gyllius, whom 
more recent writers have been content 
to copy. This dstcm, known to the 
Turks as Bin Bir direk (thousand and 
one columns), they identify with a 
great dstem wluch the Paschal Chron- 
icle says was built by Justinian in 
528. We believe with them that 
the architecture of the dstem agrees 
entirely with what we might expect 
as an outcome of the speaal drcum- 
stances in the 6me of the great building 
era. " Bin Bir direk exhibits the 
highest development of the art of 
dstem builcUng, and it thus in its 
particular sphere resembles S. Sophia ; 
like it the boldness of its construction 
was never agsun equalled by the By- 
zantines. It would be an explanation 
of the bold achievement if it might 
be assumed that Anthemius proved 
his capability in this subterranean worit 


Via. SI.— Capital now Ontude Porch at 8. Sophia. 

before he made his supreme efibrt in S. Sophia. Technical 
features, however, make it seem probable that the builder was 
an Alexandrine." 

" It is of the widest agnificance for the history of Byzan- 
tine art that here throughout the new * impost capital ' is 
employed in its pljunest constructive form. It seems not 
improbable that the daring builder of the cistern was the 
first to make use of this form of capital which completely 
broke with clasMcal tradition and is in such perfect 
accord mth the exigendes of arch-architecture." This is 
to go too far ; for irthe dstem is rightly referred to ea8 it 
is probable, as we shall show, that the impost capital had at 
that time been for many years in use. 

At S. Sophia the four mam varieties of the new capital are 
all found. In the cistern the change of form is made by 

Fio. 5S.— Cdomiu in Gallery, 

rounding away the angles at 
the bottom without reference 
ntly to any geometrical 
but in other ca^tals 
w!uch belong essentially to 
this type the method seems 
to have been that expluned 
in Fig. 53 which represents 
the form of the caps of the 
lamp pillars on the front of 
the western gynaeceum. They 
are most cklicately carved 
with a network of ornament, 
but the general form is un- 
disturbed as we have ex- 
pluned. The plun capitals 
of the west window and the 
isolated sculptured ca^tal 
Salzenberg found in the north 
aisle are also of this form, 
which we shall call the Im- 
post Capital type I. The 
profile can be made convex 
or inflected, we are only 
speaking of the Amplest 
method of changing the 
form from a drde to a 

Two camtals now used as 
mounting blocks out»de the 
east porch, wluch we illus- 
trate (Fig. 51), furnish us 
with a sculptured example of 
a sinular cajntal in two 
stages of development, one 
of them never having been 
completed. We give here 
an outline of the blocked 
out captal, in which the 



Fio. 53.— Radimentary Form of Capital. Type I. 

method of work- 
manship may be 
plainly seen. First, 
the block was cut 
away below convexly 
to meet the circular 
shaft. In this state 
it exactly resembles 
the cajntals of the 
dstem. Secondly, 
on this was marked 
a border all roimd 
the top ; also centre 
lines running down each of the faces, about the centre point 
of each of which a drde of about seven inches cUameter 
was drawn ; and at the bottom the width for the necking 
was marked off. Thirdly, the intermediate spaces were 
sunk about two inches; the hollow of the abacus was 
formed ; the necking, and edge of the circular discs were 
rounded. This brings the capital to the stage shown in 
the diagram, the point to be observed being that the abacus, 
boss, and necking lie in one surface, first obtained, and 
the rest in another face, stuik some two inches below the 

former. It cannot 

be doubted that the 

style of these capi- 
tals is contemporary 
with the work at S. 
Sophia, and the fin- 
ished one bears a 
monc^ram which 
appears to read 
OEOACOPOT; it is, 
however, almost 
identical with that 
of Theodora, which 
occurs on the capi- 
tals of the interior. 
MM. Curtis and 

Fig. 54.— Rudimentary Form of Capital. Type IL 

Aristarches,' who have written on these monc^rams, think 
it belonged to a portico, restored in 409 by an eparch 
called Thcodoros. Work of this style was not done at 
that time, and these capitals posnbly belonged to some of 
the outer courts of the church mentioned by ProcojMus. 
They resemble the great capitals so closely that they might 
almost be preliminary stumes. The strips which are left 
down two sides of the capitals were customary in the capitals 
of a Byzantine colonnade, espedally where screens were 
inserted between. 

FlO. 55. — Rni]imenUi7 Form of Capital. 

The two capitals in the It^gia by the baptistery fiirnish 
a well-defined variety of the impost capital. The square at 
the top^is here wrought into curves recalling the antique 
abacus. These are gi^ered tc^ether into the drcle of the 
necking in a beautiful convex form which may be called the 
Melon type II., see Fig. 54. 

We give in Fig. 50 an outline of the whole column of the 
great order, in the interior of the church, and in Fig. 56 a 
diagram of the blocking out of the capital. The columns 

' 'EWip'. 9iX. SiAX. -rapap. 1885, p. 10. 



here and throughout the great church being monoliths of 
fine material, die supporting area is very small compared 
to the area of the arcn imposts, which are of brick sheeted 
mth marble. It will be seen that the projection is just 
that required by the impost, which springs directly from the 
outside edge. 

Fio. 56.— Rndimeotary Form of CapitaL Type IIL 

The great capitals of S. Sophia are remarkable examples 
of the evolution of beautiful forms on the mason's banker ; 
the workman finding form in the stone block by the ap- 
plication of practical methods. The lower half of the 
capital is circular like the shaft, rising in a slightly swelling 
curve of a bowl ; the upper part is square like the impost. 
The bads of form is that of a bowl with a tile placed 
above it, and is thus that of the Greek Doric This 

254 S. SOPHIA 

type III. in which the drcle does not pass by tran^tion into 
the square impost, but changes abruptly, we may call the 
bowl and tile captal. 

At S. Sophia the surface of the form obtained as shown 
in the figure i^ wrought into crisp acanthus and palm 
foliage ; and is in many places, espedally at the tips of 
the leafage and behind the monograms, entirely undercut. 
The cutting being so sharp, and the shadows so deep, while 
at the same time the general form with its broad gradation 
of light and shade is so little modified by surface modelling, 
the effect is almost that of inlaying black on white. The 
capitals of the columns standing in the ^sles, and those of 
the first floor ranged against the central area, are similar to 
thegreat order, but simplified and reduced. 

Tne columns of the aisles on the first floor have block 
capitals, with small volutes below; Fig. 57 will make the 
elementary form clear. This type IV. is really a Byzantine 
Ionic. The dual columns of west gallery have a capital in 
common, which is a variation of these, and the capitals of 
atmun were also similar. One capital of the north gallery 
is entirely different from all the rest, the block, not being 
carved all over continuously, is broken up into several 
horizontal lines of ornament. 

For the capitals • of the square pillars of ground floor, 
and others to the windows, we must refer to Salzenberg ; 
they are all of the simple block form delicately sculptured. 

Salzenberg also figures two capitals, now on the 
porphyry columns at the east pordi. These are com- 
paratively small, and may pos^bly have belonged to some 
position in the interior of the church, such as Justinian*s 
first ambo. The form is that of a basket with four doves 
perched on the rim, and crosses between. Doves assodated 
with crosses symbolized the Church. Now in St. Clemente 
at Rome there are two capitals of this kind which belonged 
to the ciborium, set up as the inscription shows while 
Hormisdas was pope (514-523), they are figured by 
Cattaneo, Fig. 7, who says they obviously were sculptured 
by Greek chisels. It is thus extremely possible that ours 
may have been late additions to the pre-Justinian church, 


Tia. 57.— RadimcDUiy Form of Capiul in GjnMcenm, Tjpo TV. 

where they also may have belonged to the ciborium. 
RohauJt de Fleury believed that this form of capital was 
intended to represent an offerings basket. 

To these Bird and Basket capitals, type V., may be added 
varieties of the great class of derivatives from the Corinthian 
of wluch this is in ^ict one. These were in general use 
before the block type of cafHtal was developed. We will 
here only mention two of these acanthus capiuls. Those in 
which tlu leaves are set upright on the stem of the shaft we 
will call Byzantine Connmian and type VI. Those in 
wluch the leaves turn over and bend round the ca[Htal we 
will, with Mr. Rusldn, call ** Wind-blown acanthus," and 
type VII. 

Distribution and Dates of Capitals. — We have referred 
befcK« to our belief that Constantinople was a marble 
working centre from which sculptured marbles were cUs- 
persed to all parts of the Roman world. Having the chief 
types of Byzantine capitals before us it will be convenient 
to con^der this more fully. We suppose that as white marble 

256 S. SOPHIA 

had to be bought in any case, the custom grew up of obtain- 
ing the capitals fully wrought Importation was, of course, 
a general antique practice in regard to figure sciilpture, 
columns, and other objects of marble. Proconnesian marble 
seems to have been the common stone of Constantinople so 
that it is used for the columns and capitals of the dstems. 
We believe that careful examination of the capitals at 
Ravenna, Parenzo, and other Byzantine centres will show 
that th^y are in the main of this material. As to de^gn 
the capitals lying neglected about the city, together with 
those in situ in the churches and cisterns, furnish a perfect 
museum of the types with which others dispersed through 
the whole area of the empire agree in the minutest particulars 
of design and workmanship. 

To take the types we have mentioned : 

Impost Capitalj L — ^This capital is foimd mth the surface 
richly sculptured at S. Sergius. Capitals identical in form 
and decoration with the isolated capital of S. Sophia 
(Salz. PI. XX., fig. 8) are found at Parenzo and in 
Jerusalem. The splendid examples of this type at S. Vitale, 
Ravenna, are well known ; here the fretwork of sculpture is 
almost entirely relieved fi*om the ground. We found an 
example absolutely similar at Constantinople. Mr. Ruskin's 
**Iily Capital" which belongs to this group is found at 
S. Mark's, at S. Vitale, at Parenzo, and at Alexandria. 
Another variety is covered all over with horizontal bands of 
zigzag fillets; an example rests in the Tchenli-Kiosk 
Museum, others are found at Athens, at Mistra, and a 
third now at S. Mark's is figured in die Stones of Venice. 
The capitals at S. Sophia, Salonica, figured by Texier are 
probably the earliest of type I. to which an approximate 
date can be given ; it was certsdnly in general use at the end 
of the fifth century. 

Melon Form^ IL — ^These magnificent eight-lobed capitals 
form the great order at S. Sergius, and are foimd at the 
church usually called Agia Theotokos. Similar capitals 
belong to the upper order at S. Vitale, and others are foimd 
at S. Mark's. Some of the nave columns of S. Demetrius 
at Salonica have fine capitals of this type which although 



evidently derived from the last probably also originated in 
the fifth century. 

Bowl ^ype^ II L — These, the great capitals of S. Sophia, seem 
to have been especially designed for the metropolitan church : 
the beautiful palm foliage, however, with which they are 
sculptured is found again at Parenzo and on a capital in the 
Ravenna museum said to have been brought from Pomposa. 
The church at Parenzo was begun in 535. 

Byzantine Ionic j IV. — ^These occur in their perfected form 
of block capital fully sculptured in S. Sergius and at the palace 
of Hormisdas in G>nstantinople, also in the upper order at S. 
Sophia, Salonica. Examples are also found at Venice. 

In their earlier form of transition from the *^ Ionic with a 
plain dosseret " an immense number are found in the sub- 
terranean structures of Constantinople. An example has been 
found in Chalcis.^ 

Bird and Basket^ V. — S. Sophia furnishes two examples, but 
there is no proof that they originally belonged to the building. 
Another example is in Csdro. That at S. Clemente, Rome, is 
s^ned with the name of John Mercupus ; Piranesi figures a 
capital of this kind from the Palazzo Mattel, bearing a 
monogram which is indedpherable in his plate. Period, end 
of fifth century and beginning of sixth. 

Byzantine Corinthian TypCj VL — ^These are of great variety ; 
we will only mention one. In the portico of John Studius the 
acanthus leaves are doubled, one leaf lying over and within 
another, so that a double row of serrations is shown around 
the margins (see figure in Salz.). Similar capitals are found 
in S. Demetrius, &donica, and at S. Mark's, Venice. This 
particular form is probably nearly concurrent with the last, 
possibly a little earlier. 

fVind-blown Acanthus^ VII.^ is represented at Constanti- 
nople by two examples forming bases for the posts of a 
wooden porch to a house near Gul Jami, and another is found 
in the cistern usually called after Arcadius or Pulcheria. 
Absolutely similar capitals are found in S. Sophia, Salonica 
{circa 490) and one occurs at S. Demetrius. At Ravenna fine 
examples are dated by bearing the monogram of Theodoric. 

^ Hittheilungin^ etc.. Arch. Inst, Athns^ 1889, xiv. 286. 




Others at S. ApoUinare in Classc resemble the last so closelv 
that we doubt their having been made spedallv for the churcn 
built in 534-^549. An example was found m Chalds with 
the Ionic capital just referred to and De Vogue figures one 
from Syria, Period, say 425 to 525, 

The seven most typical Byzantine orders were thus being 
wrought concurrently at the end of the fifth century, and it 
seems that the three last did not long outlast this century. 
The others in their central types probably did not continue 
in use much beyond the sixth century. After this time 

somewhat coarse varieties 
of Byzantine Corinthian, 
or Type L, were mostly 

The evidence of the 
original block in the fully 
sculptured finished work 
which we find in the most 
characteristic examples of 
the Byzandne capitals is 
of primary importance in 
all marble sculpture, and 
difllerentiates the work of 
the chisel from being a 
mere stone model of a 
clay model which is prac-* 
tically what most modem 
sculpture has become. In 
many of these capitals the vertical strip shown in Fig. 55 left 
in the finished work furnishes a further suggestion of the 
block from whence they were hewn. 

Shaftt and Bases. — ^The usual theory that the Byzantines 
wrought but few new marble shafb does not bear scrutiny. 
Byzantine shafts have neckings of very slight projection, 
thus obyiating the waste of labour and material of Roman, 
work,^ The shafts of the baptistery loggia at S. Sophia, 

Mr. Brindley has shown us a photograph of a half worked Byzantine 
column with a flat necking, still attached in a horizontal position to the 
rock on its underside while the uppe? part is rounded. 

Fig. 58.— Bronze Annqlets of Columns. 



Fig. 59.— Marble PedesUlt and SkirtiDg SUbt. 

figured by Salzenberg, fiimish good examples; sometimes 
the necking, as to the square marble pillars, b a simple broad 
fillet of about a quarter of an inch projection. The hundred 
round shafts of S. Sophia exhibit a remarkable and beautiful 
structural expedient by which the necking is entirely sup- 
pressedf and bronze annulets surround the shaft under the 
cafntal and above the base ; which prevent the shafb from 
sliding or splitting, and retun the lead beds from being 
forced out by the weight (sec Chmsy, p. 15). Large 
monolithic shafts were the more apt to split, as they 
had to be set up contrary to the direction of the quarry 

Fig. 58 represents these bronze zones in assodation with 
the great capitals and bases. The pedestals of the exedra 
columns A tf, next figure, are worked together with the bases 

s 2 



Fig. 6a — Cornice Profiles. 

in one stone. In these profiles we again see how little the 
mouldings (tisturb the original form. 

Responds. — ^A very remarkable feature in the interior, is 
the way in wluch the colour of the marble columns of the 
arcade is reflected as it were on the responds, where the 
arches fall on the great square piers. A strip of porphyry 
or verde antique, the width and height of the free shafts, is 
inlaid into the marble casing of the piers absolutely flush, 
the edge being only defined by a line of the notched fillet. 
A flat sculptured slab at the top echoes the capital, and a 
base slab of mouldings worked in a vertical plane ranges 
with the bases of the columns. Salzenberg's plate does not 
render this feature properly, the ** capital ' is flat and has 
straight sides and instead of the ^* base *' he shows a portion 
of the wall skirting. Fig. 59 shows this base in elevation (B), 
and section (C), ranging with the pedestals of the ex^ira. 
Columns (A). The way in which the sculptured and 
inlaid spandrils of the arcades stop against the plain veneer- 
ing of the great piers is also most noteworthy. 

Cornices and Skirtings. — We give here (Fig. 59, D and E) 
two profiles of the sldrtings where the principle of working 
out of thin veneering-slabs is applied to moulded work. 
The parapet slabs of first floor are worked in a very similar 



way ; Salzenberg shows design of front, and they bear fiat 
lozenges between two crosses at the back. See Fig. 61. 

The cornices of the interior, which really formed walks 
for the lamplighters, are made up of no regular combination 
of curves ; they project steeply forward, the general 
slanting plane b^g little disturbed (A, Fig. 60) ; they are 
decorated with rows of acanthus, the curved tips of which 
catch the light in bright points. The cornice of aisle is given 
at B. We also give a profile of the door-head, which shows 
how the moulcUnes conform to a plane of least labour (C). 
By the jambs and heads being mitred together, the difficulty 
of working stop ends was also obviated. The mouldings 

Fig. 61. — Closures between Pillan, Front of Gynaecenm. 

are not sharp and accurate, as is suggested by Salzenberg^s 

We may mention here that all the doors entering the 
church from the narthex have raised marble thresholds, that 
of the Royal Door being a magnificent piece of verde 
antique which rises some seven inches above the level of 
the floor ; the others are of white marble. 

WindowSy 6fr. — ^The pierced lattices of the windows also 
furnish examples of another beautiful method of marble slab 
construction. The large windows are subdivided by marble 
posts, between which the pierced lattices make a mere screen. 
Salzenberg, who found a store-room full of broken fragments, 
gives a section of a bar. Windows over the western entrances. 


Fis. 63.— Marble Window Lattice. 

Fio. 63.— Cipollino Sl«bi wiUi Ciom. 

and another at the foot of 
the south-west stair, which 
arc similarly pierced out of 
sheet marf)le, have a simple 
meander carved oathe Mrs 
(Fig. 62); this we suppose 
to be of the ninth or tenth 
century. The lower part of 
the window openings going 
down to the floors arc filled 
with marble closures, some 
of which bear flat sculp- 
tured devices, such as a &h 
in a lozenge, and on the 
outside a cross ; above tUs 
came a second tier of slabs 
pierced with square open- 
ings, which were possibly 
covoxd by marble slabs as 
opening casemente. 

Some of these closures 
arc translucent ; one in the 
West Gallery over narthex 
is the well-known " Shining 
Window " which is men- 
tioned by Grelot These 
transparent slabs of *' Phen- 
gites" were much used in 
Byzantine architecture. The 
transparent marble slab 
windows of S. Miniato arc 
well known. At Ravenna 
there is a sculptured slab 
altarfront, through which 
shone the light of candles 
placed behind. 

Placed ^nst the east 
side of the marble screen 
now in south gynaeceum 



are slabs of cipollino, which bear large crosses standing on 
drdes ; the relief being very slight and the edges softened 
these show in the faintest way ; each cross extends over two 
slabs, the joint being down the middle. A similar slab with 
a cross is now placed in the opening on south side of 

bema. These cross 
slabs some seven feet 
high are beautiful 
examples of the 
proper use of marble. 

(Fig- 63.) 

Carving. — Of the 

carved ornament we 
can only stay to re- 
mark on the large 
use made of the 
drill in obtaining 
points and chains of 
. . , , . sharp shadow : and 

that in the design new motives and old— the acanthus and 
the vine are found side by side, both equally alive. The 
acanthus has been redrawn from the leaves which tracery 
the stones along the shore ; and even the archaic lotus, for 
centuries degraded into "egg and tongue,'* buds once again 
into leaf. 

Fio. 64. — ^Fonns on Carved Inipost Moalding. 



One of the most interesting facts in connection with the 
building is the lavish use of bronze in construction and 
decoration. There is every reason to suppose that the bronze 
ca^ng of the Royal Doorway entering the church from the 
narthex, was applied long subsequent to the building of the 
church. We give in Fig. 65 a sketch of the bronze cornice 
of this door, with its hooks for the door hangings ; the left 
hand shows the form towards the narthex, the right hand the 
interior. The deep-6played casing of the cornice resembling 
a sarcophagus may have suggested the story quoted by 
Buzantios,^ that the body of S. Irene reposed above this 
doorway. By comparing it with the adjoining marble door- 
ways, it is apparent that the bronze must be laid over similar 
marble forms, and that this deep-splayed casing simply covers 
a marble cornice hacked back to one slanting face. Salzen- 
bei^ &y^ ft detail of the panel at the centre, and the 
inscription has already been quoted. Such inscriptions were 
general at the entering in of ancient churches. For instance, 
a small church ^ in Palestine has the l^end, ** This is the gate 
of the Lord, the riehteous shall enter in thereat,'* and a 
similar inscription is on the lintel of the early church 
at G>rfu.^ An isolated lintel at Constantinople has <* Open 

^ H. Kinvtmarrtym/woXi^f p. 5^^* 

• Survey rfWistern Palestine^ vol. iii., p. 357. 

« Wtlsb, A Residence at Censtantineple^ " Errau ** to p. 80. 


Fia €5.— Bronze Codng to Rojal Doorwajr. Scale ^ 

me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter and 
pnuse the Lord" Paulinus says- that at the door of his 
church at' Nola was written, " Peace be to thee with peaceful 
heart and pure, who comest within the secret place of 

In a paper on the inscriptions at S. Sophia, by C G. Curtis 
and 5. Aristarchls in the Transactions of the Philolc^cal 
Sodety ' of Constantinople the authors point out that S. 
Sophia was greatly injured by earthquake on the 25th of 
October, 975, and restored ux years afterwards, and say that 
the form of the letters of the inscription su^csts that it was 
written at this time. Possibly an earthquake gave a very 
sufficient reason for such a casing, by iracturing the great 
marble lintel, but there appears to have been a whole series of 
additions and alterations at this end of the church before tMs 
period, and it might very well have been done at the same 
time as the mosaic above it. 

All the doors opening into Xx &om the narthex, with one 
exception, are cased in bronze on a wood foundation about five 
inches thick, formed into panels. They are all huing in two 
leaves, and the back edges agunst the frame are rounded con- 
tinuing top and bottom as pivots on which they revolve. The 
nine doors entering the church are comparatively plain, each 
leaf being divided into three panels. 

The central doors entering the narthex are two panels 
high, each of which bore a large cross ; these were applied 
separately, the upper one under a round arch on pilastersj and 

> *EkKrpi. «(A. SuXX. iiwpafk, vol ivi., 1S85, p. 34. 

Fto. 66.— CenlnJ Brooie Dow enlcring Nutbei. Scale Bbonl threa feet 


the lower beneath a gable also supported by pilasters. The 
lower cross is plantra on a rock, from which flow the four 
rivers, symbol of the Gospel preached^ to the ends of the 
earth. Part of a verse in the mossuc of the apse at Nola as 
given by Paulinus makes this symbolism clear. 

" Christ the rock 
Of all the church, the base of rock sustains 
From which as living streams four fountains flow ; 
The four evangelistic whose words are gone 
Through every land?* 

The maigins, framing the panel of this p^ur of doors, are 
decorated with elliptical hollows and pairs of small rosettes 
alternately (see Fig. 66). 

The two doors right and left of this central door are less 
in size ; here each leaf is again divided into two panels. 
The top one has a relief of a chalice fiom which rises the 
stem of a cross with crisp acanthus foliage on either side. 
The lower panel has a large plain cross. These reliefs are 
all applied to the panels, tlie crosses being made up of four 
arms, which are separately inserted into a central boss. The 
horizontal arms, and in many instances the whole crosses, have 
been removed by the Mahommedans. The styles and rails of 
these doors are inlaid with strap-like forms and gammidae in 
silver, and engraved with a representation of a setting of gems 
(see Fig. 67). These inlaid straps, with seal-like ends, exactly 
repeat the forms found on door-hangings. See Fig. 13. 
At S. Sophia the forms have certainly been taken from similar 
veils. The large simplidty of the design of these beautiful 
bronze doors suggests that they may be of Justmian's time. 

The doors still further from the centre, right and left, that 
is to say the two end doors of the five entering the narthex, 
have each leaf divided into three panels. The top aind 
bottom panels are charged with crosses ; and the centre one, 
which is smallest, bears an annular boss ; the styles are 
studded with discs. The south door of narthex, and also 
the end doors in the west wall of the nave are similar to these ; 
the others in this wall, including the great central door from 
the narthex, have the big panel m the centre and two smaller 
ones with drcular boss top and bottom (see Fig. 68). 

The outer doors of the porch at the south end of lurthex 
are still more remarkable. The panel margins are made up 
of cast bronze decorated with meanders, frets, and leu 
moulcUngs, very delicately modelled in high relief. These 
are evidently of antique workmanslup, pos^bly they may be 
as late as the fourth 
century, but they can 
hardly have been 
wrought later. The 
andent doors have 
been enlarged by add- 
ing outer margins, 
connsting of later re- 
lief work, and flat 
metal studded with 
little leaf ornaments 
which form the heads 
of pins. The panels 
have been filled with 
plates of bronze, 
which bear an inscrip- 
tion ingeniously made 
up of monograms, 
arranged on crosses in 
drcles ; these are 
deeply engraved into 
the metal plates and 
filled with silver. It 
is interesting to find 
here an example of 
F10.67.— BrcaweDoorof Nartbex. Sode about the damascened WOrk 
foor feet to an inch. of which some of the 

doors in Italy broti^ht 
from Constantinople are such remarkable spedmens.^ The 
letters arc beautifully designed, and in all cases the horizonal 
arm <rf the cross is above the centre of the cirde in which it 

Good engravings of these doors are given by Salzenberg, 
» Sec Bayet, VJrt BjZMUtin. 


who however incorrectly transcribes and arranges the inscrip- 
tion on the panels. Of this we here give a corrected version. 
Fig. 69. (The top line in the figure is actually above the 
right-hand monograms.) 

The inscription has been dedphered in the previously 
mentioned TransacHons of the Greek Syllogos at G>nstanti- 

[eeo4>iAov kaiJ mixaha nikhtcon 
KVPI6 BOHeei e6o4)iAco AecnoTH 

eeoTOKe BOHeei eeoAcoPA AvrovciH 

xpicie BOHeei mixaha AecnoTH 

eiovc Ano-KTicewc kocmov stmg ina.a 

(of Theophilus and) Michael G>nquerors 

(i) Lord, help (2) Theophilos Emperor 

(3) Mother of God, help (4) Theodora Augusta 

(5) Christ, help (6) Michael Emperor 

(7) Year from the creation (8) of the world 6349. Ind. 4 

Hie sixth and eighth monograms show evidence of 
having been altered. The silver has been removed from 
the earlier form, and the grooves having been filled up with 
bronze fresh letters were inlaid : the lines stopped out 
however show a different colour from the original ground, 
and so the palimpsest can be read. The revision was made 
" after the birth of Michael the first son of Theophilus 
in 839 and his coronation in the year 840.^ Before this 
time the monc^ram of John the patriarch, which may still 
be traced, occupied the position of Michael's monogram: 
and instead of 6349 Indiction 4, the date was 6347 Indiction 
2, thus giving the year beginning September 838, when 
John the Sixth was Patriarch of Constantinople."^ The 
inscription " Michael Conquerors " (which is formed by 
piercing a bronze plate, not by damascening, as shown 
by Salzenberg) occupies the top of the right-hand leaf of 

^ A.M. 5508 of Byzantine chronology coincides with a.d. i up to 
September ist. Indictions were cycles of fifteen years commencing in 
312 A.D. Both the years of the world and the Indictions began on 
September 1st. 

^ "EXXi/F. ^(\<xX. SvXX. vapap^ vol. xvi.» p. 30. 




the door : that on the left corresponding to it is lost 
MM. Curtis and Aiistardies have restored this as above. 
The existing word^ it is evident, must have been added after 
Michael's birth and with the alteration of the monograms 
probably form a memorial of his coronation. Murray's 
Handbook 1893 sug- 
gests that the wcnvj 
Nik6t6n refers to the 
restoration of images; 
but the revision ofthe 
inscription was made 
during the lifetime of 
Theophilus, who was 
the last of the icono- 
clastic emperors. Ac- 
corcUng to Muralt ^ 
Theo[milus died Jan. 
20 A.M. 6350 (842). 
Just before, feeling 
himself to be dying, 
he made the empress 
swear not to re- 
establish images, and 
not to depose this 
patriarch John. Three 
weeks however after 
the emperor's death, 
Methodius was named 
patriarch. " The vic- 
tory of the im^e- 
Fio.68.-BionieDoonii.NM!iiex. SoUe about Worshippers was cde- 
fow ft«t to Ml inch. brated by the instal- 

lation of the long- 
banished |HCtures in S. Sophia on the 19th of February 842, 
just thirty days afier the death of Theoplulus." * It is 
almost certain that the conjectural restoration is correct for 
Theophilus and Michael are thus associated in a mural 

* Bssai sur U CBreweltgit SjZMthu, 

* Finla^, vol. i., p. 165. 

n 1^7 





Fig. 69. — Inscription Damascened in Silver on Bronse Door. 

tjt S. SOPHIA 

inscription^ and Niketc8 was a common title from Con- 
stantino downwards. On the panels are certwi jnn-holes^ 
placed symmetrically between the monc^ams ; these must 
have been for the attachment of reliefs. 

The Anonymous author speaks of doors of " elektron ** 
and of silver dipped in gold, but we cannot rely on this 
any more than on his 365 doors of ivory. 

Electrum is incorrectly translated as amber in the last 
edition of Murray's Guide (1893). Labarte pointed out 
that enamel fohns the right equivalent, and for this 
interpretation he has ample authority. Theophilus, the 
Byzantine writer on the arts, continually uses the word 
for glass enamels, either set as separate jewels, or fused 
as translucent enamels to a metal base. A note in the 
English edition of this writer explains that this use of 
the word was probably extended from amber to cover other 
transparent bodies of similar appearance. From the lavish 
way in which enamel was used about the tenth century 
it is possible that some of the doors such as those in the 
iconostasis might have been enamelled. 

As to the ** dipping" of silver or bronze with gold 
the Silentiary tells us that Justinian ** overlaid with gold " 
the bronze zones of the columns ; and the annulets of the 
porphyry columns at the east entrance still sho^ gilding;. 
Buzantios ' quotes from a MS. chemical treatise in the Pans 
library i^hich mentions ** dipping bronze like the doors of S. 
Sophia," and Fossati says the head of the Royal Door was gilt. 

Theophilus explains in detail how bronze or silver might 
be gilt by fire-gilding, the process here called dipping. The 
copper in the bronze had to be pure .and free from lead. 
The gold was ground very fine and cooked with mercury. 
This amalgam was then applied to the surface with a copper 
bit, like that plumbers use in soldering, and polished with 
a wire brush. 

We have given sketches of the bronze collars which 
surround the columns, at the junction of capital and shaft, 

^ Mordtmann, p. 36. ^ Shown in Salzenberg*s plate. 

' H. Kwi^oTaynvoviroXiCy vol. i. p. 500 


and just above the bases. The porphyry columns in the 
two western exedras have many intermediate annulets at 
unecjual heights ; these in some cases were doubtless intended 
to bmd.up longitudinal fractures in the shafts, which show 
in many places ; but in other instances they appear to cover 
the junction of separate drums of porphyry. These are all 
shown in Grelot's interior view. The prindpal collars arc 
certainly of the time of Justinian ; those under the capitals 
have square metal bosses or boxes covering the point where 
they meet and are pinned together. These ** seals" of 
the great order bear the monograms of Justinian and 

The annuJets at the base are made continuous at the 
joint, and have the appearance of being brazed : those of 
the main order are now kept brightly polished. One of 
the base annulets in the north gallery is signed by a mono- 
gram as the work " of Stephen." ^ 

Besides the hooks, in the form of uptiu-ned fingers, for 
the hangings at the bronze dopr, similar hooks occur in 
the marble lintels of the doors in the narthex and the 

§ 2. MOSAIC. 

The mosaics of figures exposed at the time of Fossati's 
repairs are many of them figured by Salzenberg, although 
his harshly coloured diagrams can but very inadequately 
represent the beauty of the originals. We give here his 
descriptive text in a slightly condensed form as a basis for 
our own remarks. Dethier ^ asserts that only a part of the 
mosses discovered were published by Salzenberg, and that 
Fossati preserved others inedited in his portfolios.^ 

The mosaics are formed of glass 01 various colours cut 
into small pieces and applied to the vaults with a cement. 
The gold mosdc was made by laying leaf gold on the glass, 
wluch was then covered by a thin film of glass to protect the 
surface. Silver mosaic was made in the same way. The gold 

^ Curtis, Broken Bits of Byz,y part ii. 
* Le Bosphore it Constantinople^ 1873. . 
' Sec below, p. 287. 

a74 S. SOPHIA 

was used, in spite of its apparent abundance, with great 
economy. For instance, in vertical spaces Mgh up and only 
visible from almost immediately beneath, the tesserae are 
arranged in horizontal rows at a distance of two or three 
tesserae from each other with their upper edges projecting. 
The projecting edge of the lower row hides the bare space 
between it and the row above. There is thus a saving of 
more than half the material, and great play of light is 
obtained. The tympana of the aisles are covered in tlus 
way. The coloured tesserae are set in the usual way, as the 
difficulties involved by the other method in the curves of the 
ornament would outweigh the saving of material. 

Be^des gold and sUver, red, blue, and green are the 
principal colours ; though others are used in the heads of the 
figures. The vaulting throughout was covered with a back- 
ground of gold, on which are conventional patterns that 
follow the forms of the construction. Some of the spaces 
have representations of figures. 

In the bands of ornament are gamma-crosses [swasfikas]^ 
hearts, leaves, and crosses, placed in circles, squares, ami 
other figures. There are no sharp arrises to the vaults, 
but patterned bands are placed on the rounded edges. 

The vault of the narthex has its wide transverse bands 
adorned with gamma-crosses. In the domed portions between 
the transverse arches are diagonal bands whidi culminate in a 
circle inclosing a cross.^ 

The vaults of the gynaeceum, perhaps because they were 
visible from the nave, are more elaborate than those of 
the aisles below.^ Salzenberg's Plate xxv. shows the 
western dome on the south ade, on which is r ep r esented the 
descent of the Holy Spirit : the arches have the same 
ornament as those below.' 

Details of the dome are given in Salzenberg's Plate 
xxvi. The edges of the ribs and window openings are 

^ Sec Stlz., pltte zziii. Fig. z is one of the tymptni, the centre one 
has figures : fig. 3 transverse arches ; Hg, $ soffite of a window. 

* Salzenberg*s plate xxiv. gives details of the lower aisles. 

> Fig. 2 is the barrel vault near the window ; fig. 3 arches and vault 
adjoining ; fig. 6 the intrados of the arches opening to the nave ; &g. 7 
a pattern of the west gynaeceum. 


covered with bands of ornament. The faces of the ribs 
have alternate squares and crosses, which decrease in size 
as they get higher. The central space has lost its figure 
subject, but it is surrounded by a wide border.^ The sides of 
the window openings are lined with silver mosiuc. The lower 
part of the dome is not decorated, as the projecting cornice 
hides it from below.^ 

The edges of the exedra-conchs have bands simile to 
those on the great arches, and the same pattern occurs again 
oh the edges of the eastern barrel vault, and the bema apse.^ 
The rest of the decoration of the surface of the apses has. 

Over the centre door from the narthex to the nave is repre- 
sented Christ on a throne, holding a Gospel open at the words, 
** I am the Light of the world : Peace be with you.'* A 
monarch is prostrate before him, and in medallions on either 
side are Mary the Intercessor, and Michael the Protector.^ 

The nimbu$ of Christ has three rays, and His hand blesses 
in the Greek manner, by which the fingers represent the 
initial and final letters of Jesus Christus. The undergarment 
has broad gold stripes worked on it, and the lights are given 
in silver ; it seems to be of silk, the upper garment appears 
to be of a white woollen stufiF. 

: The great western arch has a medallion of the Virgin at 
the crown, and full lengths of Peter and Paul at the sides, 
Peter on the south ; however, only a few remnants of these 
figures are now left. The border which surroimds the 
medallion of the Virgin has colours of the rainbow, the drcle 
of her halo is red ; the flesh colour is fair, and the eyes are 
blue. The veil is blue, with a gold cross^ and the cloak is also 
blue. Under the veil is a kind of band round the head, like 
that which the Spanish Jews of Constantinople wear ; it is of 
a blue green colour with dark stripes ; the hair is not visible. 
Her nimbus has three silver rays on a gold ground ; her hands 

^ Plate xxvi., fig. 6. 

* See fig. 3 for this cornice, the band beneath, snd the edge9 of the 
great arches. 

' Fig. 7 gives the borders of the windows in semidomes. 
^ Salz., plate zzvii^ 

T 2 

276 S. SOPHIA 

rest oh the shoulders of the Child, whose right hand blesses, 
while the left holds the hook of the Gospel. 

Peter's face is dark, the nimbus is blue, the garment is 
bluish green, and the gold rod, surmounted by a cross, has 
red and blue bands. He thus has the same insignia as the 
St. Peter on the Ciborium Curtain, and it is this which, in 
the mosaic, identifies the figure as Peter, for there is no 
inscription. Porphyrogenitus, in his life of Basil, mentions 
that when the western arch was restored the pictures of the 
Virgin, and the Apostles Peter and Paul were placed there 
by that emperor. The figure of Paul has an upper garment 
of green with silver lights, and the imdergarment is a 
greenish yellow. The whole figure is about seventeen feet 
high, but the head is wanting.^ 

Oti the large semicircular walls beneaiJi the northern and 
southern dome-arches are a number of figures in Inosaic 
The seven arched recesses were filled with representations of 
martyrs and bishops ; above, between the windows, were wc 
smaller figures of prophets, and a larger- figure at each end. 
At the height of the upper row of wmdows were probably 
the archangels, but of t^ese only the fiset remain. 

The figures that now exist are the following. In the 
recesses on the south side, the second from the east is 
Anthimos, Bishop of NicomecUa, martyred in 311: in the 
third is Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, martyred in 37.9.^ 

The fourth recess from the east has Gregory Theologos, 
Patriarch of Constantinople from 378 to 3813. The next 
figure is Dionysius the Areopagite ; who was converted by 
St. Paul, and became, tradition says^ Bishop of Athens. Iti 
the sixth recess is Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who died in 
330. This figure is partly destroyed.. The seventh is 
Gregory, Bishop of Armenia, who died in 325.* 

The figure of Isdah, which is to the east of the row of 
windows, had been covered up (when Salzenberg made 
his drawings), but it was described by Fossati as having an 
undergarment of green with silver lights, and over it a doak 
of a white woollen stuff. The right hand pointed towtuxis 

^ Salz. xxxii., fig. 4;; ' Salz.,. plate xxviii. 

' Salz., plate xzix. 


the bema, and in the left was an open scroll with the 
inscription, ** Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son.'* 
Under the figure was a monogram.^ Higher up again on 
the same wall was the inscription : — 


The recesses of the north wall have no mosaics [see below, 
p. 287.] 

At the height of the windows, the first figure beginning 
from the east is Jeremiah.^ The undei^arment has stripes 
of blue and red, and the uppo* represents a russet-coloured 
woollen stuff. The right hand blesses, the left has an open 
roll [with the inscription shown in the plate, " This is our 
God ; no other shall be compared to Him."].^ 

The figure between the first and second window is 
prohzhlj Jonas, as AC still remains on the right side of the 
head, and there is only room for three letters on the other 
mde. The undergarment is a greenish blue with silver 
lights, and has brc»d red stripes. The nimbus is blue. 

Over the head of this figure is found the remnant of an 
inscription NTIAOC. This may have belonged to one of 
the figures above, of which a sandaled foot and edge of a 
garment alone remain. The foot does not stand upon green 
earth, like the prophets below, and therefore probably 
belcmged to an angel. Only a part remains of the third 
prophet from the east, which was inscribed Habakkuk.^ 

The mosaics on the sofiite of the eastern arch were covered 
before drawings were made. At the crown is a medallion 
with a white ground. In this is a low throne of gold, with 
two green cushions upon it ; over them is thrown a blue 
cloth with a white hem, and upon that is placed a golden 
book. Above is also a gold cross with three arms ; the 
middle one is the longest, and at its mtersection mth the 
upright member is a circle. On the south face of this 

1 Reading KYPIE. « Salz., plate xxx. 

> The figure of Jeremiah at S. Clemente, Rome, bears the same 

^ Salz^ plate xxv.> Rg. 3. 

278 S. SOPHIA 

eastern arch is the figure of Jc^n the Baptist, with long 
hair, and a brown shaggy garment ; his rignt hand blesses, 
and his left holds a cross with three arms. Opposite, on the 
north side is the Virgin, with uplifted hands in the attitude 
of prayer. She has a white undergarment, bound with a 
;olaen girdle, a red upper garment, and a veil of a sreen- 
Jue, with a sold hem. Under her is John PalaeoTogus, 
who restored this part, and to whose time these figures an4 
designs certainly belong. The emperor wears a crown, with 
strings of pearls on either dde. He has a closely fitting 
undergarment of gold, decorated with pearls and embroidery. 
A magnificent cloak hangs down from the left shoulder, and 
round the neck and breast is a kind of broad gorget richly 
embroidered. In his right hand is a sceptre, and in his len 
a roll. 

The archangel on the south side of the bema vault ^ has 
a globe in the left hand, and a staff in the rigfht. He is clad 
in white, with imperial red shoes. The arch of the apse bears 
an inscription, which ends with the letters cei6 TTAAIN. 

On the conch of the apse is the Mother of God upon a 
throne, holding the Child between her knees; her upper 
garment, which is blue, conceals the whole figure, except 
that at the breast, under the arm, and above the feet, the 
white and gold garment beneath is visible. The Child has 
his right hand uplifted, and his left against his breast. He 
wears a wUte garment, with a gold girdle. His hair falls 
down freely, and the nimbus has three streams of light. 
The throne is gold with red ornaments, but is without a 
back, and the footstool is of green silk. 

In the dome pendentives are Cherubim with six wings. 
Each head is four feet two inches high. The upper feathers of 
the wings are a light green, and the under feathers brown*^ 
The great centre-piece of the dome, wUch, according to 
Du Cange, represented Christ as Judge of the World seated 
upon a rainbow, no longer exists. 

Only one of the domes of the gynaeceum preserves its 
mosaic ornament of figures. Tlus ^ represents the descent of 

1 Salz., plate xxii. * Stlz., plttc xxxi. 

> Sftlz., {ilate xxxi. 


the Holy Spirit. Only a part remains of the throne in the 
centre ; on it is a green cushion, and a blue cloth with 
gold patterns. Groups of spectators fill the pendentives 
of the vault. 

Above the doorway which leads from the western 
gynaeceum to the chambers over, the south porch, are 
remains of figures, which can no longer be identified.^ 
In the ceiling of the chamber over the stairway is a de»gn 
of green tendrils on a gold ground.^ 

'Die small dome in the chamber which opens out of the 
western buttress of the south ^de on the first-floor level 
has four angels with uplifted hands, supporting a medallion 
in the centre. This design is similar to that in the side 
chapel at S. Prassede at Rome. 

^*The figure representations belong to the time of 
Justinian, though the Silentiary, otherwise so accurate, does 
not describe them." 

First Scheme. — A reading of Salzenberg's notes on the 
figure mossucs will show how little ground there was for 
his impression that these belonged to the time of Justinian, 
which the last sentence expresses. Several of these mosaics 
are dated as being parts of restorations. Thus he shows 
that Basil I. placed figures on the arch of the great western 
hemicyde, and that those of the great eastern arch are the 
work of Palaeologus. . 

The subject has been much obscured by insecure assump- 
tions and inexact assertions. Labarte, who was one of the 
first to doubt that Justinian was intended by the figure of the 
kneeling emperor before Christ over the Royal Door, thought 
that the Silentiary described figure-mosucs as covering the 
interior.^ Gerspach in La Mosdique calls the emperor 
* Justinian * and appears to mistake the Pentecost cupola for 
the great dome. In r^ard to the date of the lunette 
cont^ning the emperor, Labarte suggested that it was a 
work of the seventh century, and that the emperor was 
Heradius.^ Woltmann and Woermann placed it still later 

^ Salz., plate xxxi., fig. 7. ^ Ibid, fig 8. 

' Arts Industriels. * Hist, of Paintings vol. i., p. 234. 

*8o s. SOPHIA 

and write, "There is no kmd of resemblance between 
the beardless portrait of Justinian at Ravenna and this 
bearded, gray-headed man. It is more likely to be Basil L 
the restorer of the western apse, and this o|nnion is supported 
by the miniatures of his time." The pilgrim Anthony seems 
to refer to it as Leo the Wise, but the Russians ascribe so 
many works to this emperor without reason that this is in- 
condusive. The forms of the letters in the inscriptions, 
however, show that the mossuc is late. Bayet,^ who has 
considered the mosaics afresh, and thiols^ the silence of 
Paulus is conclusive as to the absence of figure-mosaics 
when the poem was written, about 562, lumself seems 
to misread some parts of the poet's description ; thus 
he thinks patterns in mossuc are intended in lioes 607 — 6 1 2. 
The animals of the atrium jojay possibly have been of glass 
mosdc : but we think it more likely that inldd marble 
like the dolphins of the interior (Fig. 49) is intended The 
baskets of fruit, branches with birds, a^nd the golden vine 
in the diurch, spoken of in lines 668, Sec seem to refer to 
the canred and gilt surfaces of the spandrils of the arcade, 
not to the mosaic, as Bayet supposes. 

The figure scheme, so fai* as it caa be traced, closely 
agrees with the Byzantine Manual of Painting : and the 
subjects and treatments can be associated with work in other 
churches of the ninth and tenth centuries which have in 
several cases almost identical designs. Altogether it 
may be doubted if a single figure belongs to a time anterior 
to the iconoclastic period of the eighth century. 

We believe the original scheme of decoration is best 
accounted for without figures, and eyen if this were not 
so, we can hardly believe that in the Patriarchal Church at 
the door of the Palace figures would have lasted through 
the reigns of the iconoclastic emperors and patriarchs, 
as they may well hav£ done in remoter churches where 
the clergy were on the other side^ Leo issued his first 
decree agsunst images in 726. Its purport was not, as is 
often stated, that pictures should be hung higher in the 
chiu'ches in order that people should not adore them 

^ Recberches. 



Fio. 7a — ^Mosaic of small Vault Compaxtment next the Bema, 

by kissing: *Mt commanded that they should be totally 

It is well known that a figure of Christ over the entrance 
to the palace was destroyed by Leo the Isaurian. Dr. Walsh, 
who was chaplsdn to our embassy at the Porte about 1 8 20, 
writes, ** There stood till very lately in Constantinople an 
inscription over the gate of the palace called Chalces. Under 
a large cross sculptured over the entrance to the palace were 
the following words : — 

** * The emperor cannot endure that Christ should be 
represented (j^aphes)z, mute and lifeless image graven on 
earthly materials. But Leo and his young son Constantine 
have at their gates engraved the thrice-blessed representation 
of the cross, the glory of believing monarchs/ *' ^ 

^ Bury, vol. ii, 432, 

• R. Walsh, Esjays en Ancient Ceins^ Wr,, 1828, gives the Greek. 


In 768 Nicetasy the patriarch under Constantine, Leo^s 
son, is said to have destroyed ^^ the images of gold mosaic 
and wax encaustic *' in all the churches of Constantinople.^ 
And in the life of Theophilus we read, ** throughout every 
church the figures of the saints were destroyed, and the forms 
of beasts and birds were painted in thdr places.*' ^ 

It is quite certain from Procopius and the poem of the 
Silentiary that the vaults of Justinian's church were covered 
with mosaic They both describe the brilliance of the gold 
glittering sur^ice, but do not mention any figures. In 
such detailed descriptions this silence goes fsur to show that 
there was originally no storied scheme of imagery, like that 
which the Poet so fully traced out on the curtains and iconosta- 
sis. It seems equally certwi that where, describing the dome 
on the strong arches, overhanging the interior like the 
firmament which rests on sur, he says, ** at the highest point 
was de|ncted (epigraphe) the cross. Protector of the Qty," 
we are to understand that a great cross in mosaic expanded 
its arms on the zenith of the dome, and that the background 
was strewn with stars. Now this is a well-known scheme, 
and it is found at an earlier date in the chapel of Galla 
Pladdia at Ravenna, and later it is mentioned by Porphyro- 
genitus in a description of a domed apartment in the palace. 
The stars on the dome are more than once referred to in 
the poem (page 36), and it is probable that the surfaces 
between the ribs as well as the central circle had gold stars 
set in azure, the ribs being of gold ; nothing less would 
seem to justify **the firmament of the roof its rounded 
expanse sprinkled with the stars of heaven." 

It is evident that, however easily figures and {nctmes 
might be added here and there at various dates, the church, 
being once incrusted i^ith mosaic, would at no subsequent 
time, have had the enormous areas of tesserae* removed to 
be again renewed. 

It follows that the ground, and any patterns evenly 
distributed in every part of the vaults, are assuredly of 
the first work. First among such designs is a jewelled 

1 American Joum. ArchitoL^ iv. 143. 
^ Theoph. Cone ed. Bonn, p. 99. 


cross thirteen feet hieh, which is blazoned on both ground 
Aoor and gallery vamts, and which must have been repeated 
some twelve times twelve. We give an outline of one of 
the smallest vault compartments in the church, the irregular 
space to the east directly south of the bema : here thr^ of 
the crosses can still be seen through Fossati*s colouring, their 
interlocking arms spreading over the whole field. This form 
of cross, with lobed ends, is found set in a drdt of stars, in 
the mosaic apsoid of S. ApoUinaris in Classe. (Fig. 70.) 

A similar argument applies to other forms which occur 
with equal frequency. A square panel of ornament which 
alternates with the crosses, certain diapers, the bands up 
the edges of the aisle vaults, and the small drdes each 
containing the six-armed cross or monogram at the centre 
of these compartments, would all seem to be parts of the 
original work, and these simple elements we believe formed 
the first scheme of decoration. Texier figures a mosaic 
from Salonica made up of crosses. The splendid simplidty 
of such a scheme seems entirely in harmony with S. Sophia, 
for even figures would disturb the beauty of the expanse 
which at each movement glitters like a web of golden mail 
swayed by a breeze. 

Lafer Mosaics. — For the mosdcs displaying figures we 
refer back to Salzenberg's description. Much further in- 
formation might have been gathered if he had given copies 
of the inscriptions which exist, in however incomplete a 
state. His section (Plate x.) shows that a long inscription 
surrounded the arch of the apse, but in his text he only 
gives the last, few letters C€ie TTAAIN; this possibly belonged 
to the words ivecnfo'eie wdXtv^ *<Set up again,' and the 
whole may have contdned the name of the emperor under 
whom this restoration was effected. (See below, p. 287.) 

On the great lunette of the wall of the south side also, 
where the tiers of saints and prophets seem a part of a 
scheme representing the Church triumphant, or a Benedicite^ 
two monograms occur (see Salzenberg's Plate ix.) ; only 
the first, which reads KYPIC, is figured in the text ; it is 
evidently a part of the well-known invocation, * Lord, help,' 
which requires the name of an emperor or artist to complete it» 

s84 S. SOPHIA 

An inscription betveen these monc^ms b partly giTeti 
in the text ; and suppowng it to be correctly rendered the 
whole probably read " Loi^, help " (name vho painted this 
wall) " of the Immortal Wisdom " (with the figures) " of 
the saints ". 

The entire later scheme of the mosucs must have 
corresponded closely to that in the New Church in the 

6 lace built by Ba^, wMch is described by Porphyrwenitus. 
ere, at the centre of the dome, was the human form of 
Christ embradng the whole world in His regard ; below were 
ranges of angels. In the apse was the figure of the Virgil 
with arms uplifted in prayer, 
'* a chcnr of apostles, martyrs, 
prophets and patriarchs filled 
the other spaces of the whole 
church." This in turn re- 
sembles very closely the icono- 
graphy at 5. Luke s. 

The follovnng instances may 

be given of the agreement of 

the mosaics at S. Sophia with 

the instructions of the Punter's 

Manual. For example, it directs 

that over the door of entrance 

from the narthex Christ be 

represented throned, ho1<ting 

the Gospel open at the words, *' I am the Door : by me, if 

any man enter in, he shall be saved." At each side the 

Vii^n and the Frodromos are to be rniresented. The figure 

to Christ's left at S. Sophia, called Michael by SaJzenberg, 

Grelot tells us was the Prodromes and he probably foUowui 

the traditional ascription, although the type seems to agree 

better with an archangel. 

Agun, " Inade the Sanctuary at the centre of the vaults 
draw the Virgin seated on a throne holding Christ as a 
little child." * This exactly describes the apsoJd mosaic at 
S. Sophia. The cupola of the gynaeceum, representing the 
* A compoiiiion of this kiod « Piienso ippem to go up to the lath 
or lerenth century. 


descent of the Holy Spirit, is also in close agreement with 
the directions given in the Manual : — " The Holy S[nrit 
is seen in the form of a dove, twelve tongues of fire go out 
from it and rest on the apostles." This subject is treated 
at S. Luke's in a manner almost identical to that at S« 
Sophia, and it is also found in a dome at S. Mark's* 

Diehl in his examination of the mosaics at S. Luke's 
has pointed out that the central drde of the Pentecost 
cupola at S. Sophia as shown by Salzenberg in Plate xxxi. 
is quite insufEaent to have contained the ^ure of Christ 
as wown in the restoration given on Plate xxvi., and that 
consequently, the Holy Spirit as a Dove really occupied this 
position as at S. Luke's. In Fig. 71 we give an amended 
restoration of this centre ; it will be seen irom Salzenberg's 
text that he had no evidence for a figure. The two angels 
above the sanctuary are described by Salzenberg as bearing 
lances or banner poles; these were doubtless surmounted 


by Flabella bearing the words AnoC as at S. Luke's and 


^ncaea.^ There is a very similar angel holding a flabellum 
of this kind in the tenth century Mendogium ; and the words 
Holy, Holy, Holy, are directed to be put on flabella in the 

Again the Manual says, ^* At the summit of these vaults 
(opening from the dome) draw the holy Veil to the east 
and opposite to it the holy Cup." Now in Grclot's view 
of the interior, made when many of the niosaics were still 
visible, he shows a large square mosaic at the crown of 
the bema vault directly over the altar, which he says wiisis 
^* the picture of Christ's face upon^a napkin called Veronica.'^ 

The representation of the throne at the centre of the 
soflite of the eastern arch (see p. 277) is one of the most 
beautiful symbolisms of Byzantine art. At Nicaea the same 
design occurs in a similar position on the triumphal arch, 
and it is inscribed ETOIMACIA TOV ePONOy. This 
** Preparation of the throne " refjbrred to the second coming 
of Christ. Our figure represents a throne of this kind 

^ SecDiehi in Bjz. Zeits^ 1893. 

which we offer as an illustration of that at S. Sophia ; it is 
based on a throne inscribed H ETHMACIA which appears 
on the cover of a Byzantine Gospel book at S. Mark's.^ 
The small dome of the little chapel on the first floor, 
Salzenbo^ says, resembles a dome at S. Prassede. The 
latter is a work of the ninth century.^ 

Salzenberg's descripticMi seems to account for all the 
figured mosaics mentioned by Grelot (1680) except the 
"Veronica over the sanctuary." When Grelot made his 
drawing there was no figure at the crown of the dome but 
only the bands rising to the central wreath. Clarijo how- 
ever writes, *' The vault of the 
square Is covered with very 
rich mosaic work, and in the 
middle of the vault high over 
the great altar the image of 
God the Father very large is 
wrought in mossucs of many 
colours ; but it is so high up 
that it only looks the size of 
a man or a little larger though 
really it is so big that it 
measures three palmos between 
the eyes." This must be the 
Pantocrat(^ of the Manual — 
" draw near the summit of the 
cupola a circle of different colours like a rainbow seen on 
clouds in runy weather. In the centre represent Christ with 
the Gospel and this inscription, Jesus Christ, the Almighty." 
: Sanoc the above has been in type we have found a pamphlet 
published' by the brothers Fossati in 1890,' describing a col- 
lection of drawings of S, Sophia, shown by them at Milan. 
From this we gather the following addtrional particulars of 
the mosiuc subjects.- — Over the door of the south porch " was 
a remarkable mosuc representing the Virgin and Child, to 
whom Justinian presents the Church and Constantine the 
City." — A representation of Christ, the Virgin, and S. John, 

* // Ttt»n. * Vinti, JrcihL dritUime, jvith figure, p. 165. 

* Relifvi ttorico artitrici aulla trchit^ttgni 'Bizantini. 


fonning the Trimorphion (Pantocrator, Pantochrante, Pante- 
popte.) — ^Two groups of the Fathers of the Church, thirteen 
altc^ther : Ignatius Oneos, Methodius, Ignatius Theophorus, 
Gregory Thaumaturgus, John Chrysostom, Cyril, and Atha- 
nasius. [These must occupy the seven recesses on the north 
window-wall, as the six others agree with those given by 
Salzenberg on the south side], — ^The Pantocrator on a throne 
i supposed centre of Pentecost dome]. — -John Palaeologus 
? with the Vii^n on north side of great east arch, p. 278]. — : 
John Comnenus and Irene with the Virgin between them. — 
Constantine XL and Zoe with Christ between them. — 
Alexius Conmenus X. or XI. — ^Alexander, the brother of 
Leo [some of these also were doubtless on the great east 
and west arches]. — ^Three Vircins. — S. John with six apostles 
surrounded by cherubim [? m higher part of one pf the 
window-walls, p. 277]. — ^Prophets [Tof window-wall, p. 276]. 
— A circle with colossal Pantocrator [? the desstroyed centre 
of the great dome]. — Different emblems with Greek and 
Latin descriptions. Besides these, a drawing of Cherubim 
** saved from the Atrium Portico '* is mentioned ; and the 
inscription on the arch in front of the apse is given as 
follows, and may be compared with Salzenberg*3 Plate x. : — 



The earliest description of the mossucs entering into any 
particulars is that of Dr. CoveFs MS. 1 670-7 in the British 
Museum. ** In those cupolas [of gynaeceum] are imagery of 
Saints and the story of the Bible which the Turks have in 
many places quite defaced and plastered them all over ; in 
other places only scratched out or disfigured' their faces as 
the cherubims in the comers under the great dome.*' He 
then enters into details of the pentecost dome which was the 
only figured vault entire ; and then describes mosaics in the 
western gallery not otherwise mentioned. ** In the sides of 
the second window [from the south], is Christ coming up 
from Jordan and the Descent of the Holy Ghost with these 
words. Matt, iii., 17 :— ^OTTOCCCTIN, &c., on one ade and 
over agunst it, Christ between Moses and Elias Tnth these 

t88 S. SOPHIA 

words, Matt xvii., 5 : — OTTOC, &c" The window jambs 
of the western gallery are now plastered, it is probable that 
a series of mosaics of the life m Christ covered them. Up 
to 1840 every viator seems to have been ofiercd tesseraet 
which for better assurance were broken out before his eyes. 
The Italian MS. of 16 11 also in the British Museum 
(Harl. 3408)> after saying that the walls of the church 

werelined frith 
marble adds, 
" the porch as 
well, ;except 
that this is all 
worked in mo> 
saic with grow- 
ing leaves of 
great beauty 
down to the 
pavement of 
the porch." * . 
Sgnor Btmi 
has noticed 
that some of 
the gold, tes- 
serae at Pa- 
renzo are in- 
serted at an 
angle of 30' to 
the plane of the 
wall, so as to 
be normal to 

the line of vision, just as Salzenbeig describes at S. Sophia ; 
the same thing occurs at tl^e Dome of the Rode. This, 
besides saving the material, ^cd in flashing the light, a 
property of the gold tesserae wludi was much valued, as 
several inscriptions from the mosucs show.^ In S. Maria 
in Domnica, the apse — " Nunc rutilat jugiser variis decorata 
metalUs" i%tati in S. Maria in Trastevere the vault " divini 

' Sac note above the indei. 
■ * IlDtfrnQ di Perenze, p. 26, 






Fia. 73.— Hotaic TcMene, wtnal ti 


ruHlat fulgore decoris^* and at S. Paulo fuori le Mura the 
mosaic — ^^fulget fulgente decore^^ 

We have examined a handful of gold tesserae from S. Sophia 
through the kindness of Mr. James Powell. The cubes 
averaffe a quarter of an inch in size, the glass is yellowish, 
slightly amethyst or dark green. The surface layer equals 
stout paper in thickness. At the back of the tesserae a 
dusty red appears, which imder a glass proves to be of 
powdered tile. This roughens and adheres to the surface 
of the glass, which was evidently sanded with the powder 
while in a molten state, and of course before it was broken 
into morsels. The first purpose of this without doubt was 
to increase the hold of the cubes to the cementing material, 
but the reddening — almost like a coat of vermilion paint — 
may probably have as^sted the gold to show out better than 
if the tesserae had been fixed without it into the perfectly 
white stucco which forms the bed. The cementing material 
was an inch or more in thickness, formed of lime with broken 
reed for binding, and a condderable amount of crushed white 
marble, in the part next the mosaic at least. 


The Romans probably largely used coloured glass for 
windows. The lattices were sometimes bronze or thin slabs of 
marble pierced into a pattern.^ ' Sidonius (f 484), describing 
the basilica of Tours, clearly mentions the patterned windows 
of green and sapphire glass.^ It has been suggested that some 
of the windows at S. Sophia were filled with glass of brilliant 
colour. Theophilus, in his preface to the section of his work 
dealing with coloured glass, says, ^*I have approached the 
atrium of Holy Sophia, and beheld the chancel filled with every 
variety of divers colours/* He proceeds to describe windows 
of psunted glass in which the pieces are united by leads : 
but assuredly, if coloured virindows did exist in the apse of 
S. Sophia, the glass was inserted in pierced marble, like 

^ Middle ton, JncRomi^ i. 31, 

* See Labarte, Jrts Indust^ vol. iii., p. 331. 


290 S. SOPHIA 

the plaster lattices of the Orientals. Beautiful windows of 
brilliant-hued glass exist in the mosques and turbehs. The 
Arab lattices show us what beautiful mosaics of jewels may 
be formed in this way ; the singular charm of them is the 
spreading and blending of the colours, by reflection from the 
sides of the thick cHviding bars ; lumps of crystal seem to 
have been used occasionally in place of glass. Most beauti- 
ful < braided ' Byzantine lattices of marble are to be found 
at S. Mark's which would be well characterised as dvpcu 
SeB^KTuo/jUpcu which according to Lenoir was the name of 
these virindows. If coloured glass was used in S. Sophia, 
we think it can only have been in small windows of^ this 
Idnd in the apse and conchs. Labarte thought, from the 
descriptions of Procopius and Paulus, that the windows were 
of white glass which allowed the rays of the sun to slune 
through unaltered. It is hardly possible to conceive of the 
great windows being of anything else than white glass. 

A fragment of ** ancient crystalline ** glass from S. Sophia 
was exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries in 1876. It is 
described as only **one sixteenth of an inch thick, and 
nearly colourless except for iridescence.*' 

Grelot remarked that the plain glazing was *^ of round 
panes set in plaster,'* but this must refer to the gradual 
filling round of the panes by repsurs, as niay at present be 
seen m the baptistery windows ; although circular panes in 
a plaster setting were much used in Byzantine work, the 
glass being spun in separate discs of slightly varying sizes 
was inserted in marble or plaster slabs in different com- 
binations. Windows of this kind remsuned in the apse of 
the Theotokos church twenty years zgo. Dr. Cpvel is 
precise as to S. Sophia in 1676; he says the vrindows were 
** cut out of entire stone into quarries exactly sauare," i o 
by 12 or 14 inches. "In the first window or the west 
gallery (coming in on the south side), are several pieces of 
white transparent stone which I take to be Indian alabaster.*' 

Modelled stucco work was much used by late Greek, 
Roman, and Byzantine builders. Paulinus tells us that 
at Nola " a cornice of gypsum " separated the mosaic and 


Fig. 74.— Flatter Fiiuea of GTnoecenm. 

marble of the apse. A large number of examples from the 
fourth to the ^xth century are found in Rome, Parenzo, 
and Ravenna. "About the middle of the fifth century 
Galla Pladdia built the church of S. Croce in Ravenna 
' of very precious stones, and with stucro (gypsea) modelled 
with the tool ' (Agnellus. Lib. Pentif. i. 283). Decorative 
stuccoes in the apse of S. Ambrose at Milan were destroyed 
thirty years ago, as they were supposed to be 'Baroque.* 
Dartein analysed the material and found that it contained 
85 per cent, of plaster (gesso), a little lime, sand and brick- 
dust or pozzolana." " The rich decoration of the Chapel of 
S. Maria at Cividale (eighth to tenth century), and the Arab- 
Norman modelled stuccoes of Sicily show that the traditions 
of tlus kind of ornament were not lost at a later time." 1 
In the churches of Greece tlus material is largely used, and 
its application in Arab work was due to Byzantine example. 
At S. Sophia an ornamental plaster Aieze runs along both 
sides of the south porch : this is a scroll thromng out 
acanthus leaves and fruits like poppy seed-vessels. The 
background is coloured blue. 

The flat frieze-like comics of the first floor ornamented 
with two patterns of leafege appears to us to be of stucco ; 
we figure these here, but we have not been able to 
verify the materia!. If of stucco, as we suppose, it is cast 
or stamped in small square panels as shown : certainly some of 
the Byzantine plaster-work, as for instance that forming the 
cornice of the apse at S. ApoUinare in Qasse, was cast in 
short sections and then applied. 

' Boni, // Dutma it Parenzt, pp. 4, 5. 

29* S. SOPHIA 

The blue background of the plastered frieze just men* 
tioned may remind us of the decoration of the beam above 
the columns of the ambo with gold ivy leaves on a back- 
ground coloured ultramarine as described by the poet. 
(The spade-like leaves which occur in several places in the 
mosaic must be ivy.) This decoration of gold and 
" sapphire " seems to have been general in Byzantine work. 
The sculptured beam of the iconostasis at St. Luke*s has the 
blue backgroimd nearly intact, and here and there the gold 
is viable (Diehl, p. 26). 

Traces of the blue ground may also be noticed in the 
sculptures of Mone tes Choras at Constantinople. The 
notched fillet, which separates the marble panels in S. Sophia, 
is used so extensively at Venice that Mr. Ruskin callra it 
the Venetian dentil ; the complete intention of this fillet, 
he writes, is now only to be seen in pictures, ^* for like most 
of the rest of the mouldings of Venetian buildings it was 
-always either gilded or painted — often both, gold being laid 
on the faces of the dentils and the recesses coloured 
alternately red and blue."^ It is clear from Paulus that at 
S. Sophia the sculptured capitals were all gilt (Part II, lines 
1 29 and 244), as apparently were also the carved surfaces 
filling the spandrils of the lower arcade (line 236). The 
red colouring which Salzenberg notices was probably the 
preparation tor the gold. It is thus almost certsun that the 
notched fillets and carved frames of white marble surround- 
ing the marble wall panels were gilt, as the Anonymous says, 
and coloured, thus reflecting as it were from the wall 
surfaces the brighter hues of the mosaic vaults. 


The poet Paulus speaks of the iconostasis as bearing the 
names of the emperor and empress, combined in a monogram 
— " one letter that means many words." 

Such dphers or monograms had been in use for some 
centuries, and at the end of the fifth century they were used 
as signatures in discs left in the capitals. They appear at 

discs lert m the capitals. 

^ SfMes of Venice^ I., xxiii., 13. 






i 5 

• * 


• r * 
o * 

•d > 

O < 

Z n 


Fio. 75.—- Monograms on Capitals of Nave. 

294 S- SOPHIA 

Ravenna in the dme of Theodoric ; and, in Constantinople, 
S. Sophia, S. Sergius, and S. Irene (Usplay similar ciphers of 
Justinian. At S,jQphia almost everyLcapital is cbargedjwith 
two monograms which are carved on the bosses on oppo^te 
sides of "lElTc^capitals. ^^ I'he fegc kgruu nd isnentirdyhoHowed 
away,^aiid the monograms show sharp and clear in the nest- 
like cup which is held by the serrated edges of the acanthus 
leafage. There are four or five msun varieties of which 
Salzenberg somewhat inaccurately figures two without ofifer- 
ing any explanation. The first type appears on two or three 
or the coins of Justinian, of whidh we have figured an ex- 
ample at large on the title-page, and in these instances they 
have been deciphered by Sabatier as the monogram of that 
emperor. A ceramic inscription given in the Revue Archi(H 
ogique for 1876, repeats the same form. We had made out 
that the second variety was probably the word BasileoSy when, 
at Constantinople, we were referred to the paper by Canon 
Curtis and M. Aristarches.^ In this article the monograms 
are classified according to their main types and the whole 
series is figured. Although the figures are small, this is a 
thoroughly good piece of work, in the result obtaining many 
pairs reading Justinian, Basileos, other pairs with Theodora 
Augusta, and one with a date. 

The capitals of the sixteen great columns of the nave, the 
capitals of the lower side sdsles — mA the exception of those 
on the eight square columns, — ^and the thirty-six columns on 
the floor above, which screen the side gynaecea from the 
nave, bear monograms. We were fortunately able to 
examine and draw all of them, but give in Fig. 75 only 
those on the back and front of the sixteen great columns of 
the nave. They occur in the order in which they are placed 
on the illustration from the first column on the left (north) 
side on entering at the west, to the corresponding one on the 
south side.^ Many of those monograms, especially those of 

^ *EXXi7v. ^iX. SvXX. vapap.^ vol. zvi., 1S85, p. 13. 

' In our illustration the same capital is distinguished by a letter, the 
two sides by i and 2, the monograms reading in the direction of the 
reference to their position. Those of ^ N. Aisle " for instance read from 
left side of page. 


the galleries, bear evidence of having been restored. We 
may recollect that the capitals were said to have been 
restored by Romanus (p. 123). It is possible that Fossati 
tampered with them ; the Italian MS. of 1 6 1 1 in the 
British Museum states that ^^ the Turks have destroyed some 
figures which were andently carved (intagliarsi) on the 

There are fifty-six examples on the capitals which Curtis 
and Aristarches give as being monograms of Justinian ; in 
all these the letter N forms the main lines, to which addi- 
tions are made, so that the letters lOVCTINIANOV can be 
traced out. Some of these have crosses in addition. 

The next monogram is that read BACIAECOC. It occurs 
in all on fifty-five columns, the examples of it in our 
illustration are b.i, £.2, h.i, p.i, c.2, p.1,0.2, j.2, l.2, n.2, 
Q.2, the remnant of k.i, shows that this was similar. This 
monogram is found also on the capitals of S. Sercius and 
Bacchus, and on three beautiftd Basket Capitals at S. Mark's.^ 

Several of the fifty-six, classed together as Justinian, 
furnish varieties from the clearest typical form. In some a 
letter appears which may be read either as E or B, also an OJ 
and a sign of contraction : see m.i and o.i ; possibly this is 
a combination of Justinian and Basileos or only a variant 
spelling : this form occurs in the church of S. Sergius as well 
as at S. Sophia. 

On twelve capitals is carved the monogram GEO A COP AC. 
This is either designed on the cross form as b.2 f.i, another 
in the side aisles, and three in the gynaeceum above, or else 
as in £.2 it approximates to Basileos. Two of this latter 
type also occur in S. Sergius, which shows how early Justin- 
ian associated his wife with him in his architectural labours. 

^ Two varieties of monograms on capitals at S. Mark's have been the 
subject of much study which Cattaneo sums up in Bolto's text of the 
great monograph on S. Mark's, but they have never been deciphered. One 
(see Photos, vol. ii., p. 127) is a perfect example of Justinian ; three 
which show in capitals of the upper stage south side are perfect examples 
of Basileos — if corresponding monograms probably on the hidden sides of 
these capitals are examined, they too may be found to contain the 
Justinian monogram. For monograms at S. Sergius see Bjz. Zeit. for 

296 S. SOPHU 

Finally from S: Sophia, and from there only, we have 
twelve examples of A Vro VC T A C. Typical ones are shown in 
G.I, and A.I — A. 2 ; possibly some of these, as a.i, may have 
been read Augustus, if any care was taken in their distribution. 
The letters on the last capital q. i have been read by Curtis 
and Aristarches as FMBB. They take F to be a capital 
form of the obsolete letter which is used for 6 or 6,000, 
M is as usual 40, and B is 2. Hence they get 6042 for 
the year of the world. The lower B is then explained as 
the year of an Indiction, reading it as IB, or I2. One 
Indiction period of fifteen years would have ended in 
522 A.D., and the twelfth year from that would be 534 a.d. 
equalling 6042 a.m. Therefore this gives a date, two 
years aner the church was b^;un, when they suggest that 
this capital was put in its place. This ingenious explanation 
requires too much adjustment for it to be conclusive, and 
the F form is at least unusual. This monogram looks very 
white, as if it had been made up in plaster ; if we were 
assured as to how much is andent we might perhaps, if it 
proved different from the others, find here the inserted 
monogram of a later emperor who made repurs. 

Salzenberg gives some monogram signatures from the 
closures under the great west window, wluch are carefully 
carved and entirely different from rough masons' marks, 
although some of the forms occur amongst those. We 
were unable to examine them, and taking Salzenberg's 
representation, we can only suggest that they may be the 
signatures of master-workers ; one appears to be Phocas. 

M. Choisy^ has investigated the masons' marks of S. 
Sophia ; besides the ordinary signs, he makes out a system 
of numbering in the pavement slabs of the galleries. 

Strzygowski ^ pursues the subject of Byzantine marks in 
general, much further. He pomts out the same signs on 
the columns of S. Vitale, of Pomposa, and of Parenzo, and 
in the cistern Bin-Bir-direk at O>nstantinople. From this 
we gather that not only ^* the columns of Ravenna, but also 
the similar architectural features of Constantinople, Salonica, 

^ In UArt de Batir and Rivui Archhlogique^ 1876. 
* Die Wasserhehaltir von Konstantinopel^ p. 245. 


Parenzo, in fact along the whole coast of the Mediterranean " 
were taken from the quarries of Proconnesus, and in the 
lettering on the cUiFerent members we can recognise the 
worldng signs of the quarrymen or masons belonging to the 
guild, which sprang into existence there at the founding of 
New Rome, and which even as early ais the end of the fourth 
centunr Was exporting tothejslands of the -Sgean. 

A few other inscriptions ^ the marble may be briefly 
nXJtioBd. " On ihe inncrboraer' 6^ the maiWe parapet of the 
north "gallefy is scratched; '" Place ^ of "^ the most noble 
Patridan Lady Theodora/* ending with an abbreviation 
that may mean S. Sophia,^ and again on a panel of the 
parapet of the north gallery at the west end is seen, 
"Timothy, keeper of the vessels." G)teler in his Monu^ 
menta Ecclesiae Graecae finds mention of one Timothy, who 
was skeuophylax of the Great Church at the time of the 
Monothelite heresies about 622.^ 

On a column in the southern gynaeceum occurs the word 
Teodorus, but the fact that it is spelt with the Latin T and 
D proves it to have been written during the Western supre- 
macy, 1 204-1 26 1. 

In the south gallery is a slab forming a part of the 
paving ; " marks m the face of which seem to suggest that 
a railing inclosed the space within which a sarcophagus used 
to stand, supported by pillars/* This is inscribed with the 
name of the blind Doge who led the Venetians agdnst Con- 
stantinople in 1204, and died the foUo^iring year, ^^ Henricus 

^ Curtis, Broken Bits of Byzantium^ pt. ii. 
' *EXX. ^cX. SvXX. vapap,f vol. zvi. p. 29. 


The following additional inscription from the mosaics 
is given in Clarke's Travels (1812). It was taken, he says, 
in one place, "from the ceiling of the dome/* but in 
another place he seems to associate it with the eastward 
semidomes : — 




. . N . . . OICNE 


Abdul Mesjid, restoration by, 148 
Acacius, S^ church of^ 129 
Acanthus, 46, 166, 167, 254, 257, 

261, 263 
Acropolis, I, 2, 7, 10, II, 12, 17 
Additions to church, 154, 155 
Adoration of Cross, 98 
Agathias (6th c.J, 30, 33, 159, 204, 

212, 214 
Agatho the Deacon, 182 
Agora of Milion, 179, iSi 
Aisles, 27, 43, 44, 151 ; lamps in, 

51; marble, 171, 243; mosaics, 

247 ; vaulting, 160, 220, 221 
Aix, 116, 192 
Akoimetoi lamps, 118 
Alexandria, 6, 249 ; capital of S. 

Mark's at, 25$ 
Alexius, S., 181 

„ Comnenus (1081), 100, 105, 

Altar, i5, 29, ,48, 68, 69, 100 ; cross 

placed on, 92 ; cloth, 71. See 

also Holy Table 
, Ambo, 18, 29, 53, 57, 04, 98, 124, 

13^ I39> I4<^ ; candelabra round, 

III, 118; singers in, 79, 104; 

coronations in, 61, 63 
Amiens, Knight of; see Robert de 

Amurath III^ 127 
Anastasia, S., church of, 21 
Anastasitts, 116, 117, 119 
Ancyra, church at, 203 

Andreossy, 232 
Andronicus, S., 129 

„ Palaeologus, 124, 152 
Anemodulion, 178 
Anna Comnena (12th c.)« (83, 186 
Anna, Empress, 124 
Annulets round shafts, 259, 273 
Anonymous Author (12th c. ?), 24, 

26, 28, 30, 36, 43, 204, 248, 270 
Anthemius, 24, 26, 28, 30, 36, 43, 

204, 248, 276 
Anthony of Novgorod; see Nov- 
Antioch, 6,. 17, 44, 181, 203 
Antux^ 37, 41, 43, 45, 47, 49, 57 
Apollinaris, S^ 258, 283 
Apostles, church of, 14, 15, 18, 74, 

85, 205 
Apse, 19, 22, 2 A, 29, 32, 37, 67, 69, 

132* 150, ai6 
Apsides^ 25, 28, 30, 41, 43, 133, 180, 

Apsoid, 22, 25, 209, 210 
Arcadius (395), 16, 180; baths of 

II; cistern, 257 
Arch, 210, 213 ; western restored, 

123; forms, 220 
Architraves, marble, 138 ; bronze, 

Arculf (7th c.)9 92, 95, 98 
Ark of Noah, 109, 138, 147 
Arrises of vaults, 244 
Arsenius, 86, 109, 124 
Asbestos, 27, 132, 136, 231 
Athos, Mt., 98, 115, 118, 119, 189, 




Atrax, marble, 45, 236 

Atrium^ 18, 44, 122, 148, 152, 182, 

185, 191, 215 ; capitals of, 166 
Attaliotas(iith €.)» 67 
Attgusteum, 4"* 9, 10, 12, 20, 141, 

146, 173, '78, 180, 184, 186; 

steps of, 65, 95 
JuU, 44, 45, 188 

BaalbeCy 201 

Baldwin, I., 124 ; II., 100 

Banduri, 7, 10, 175, 190 

Baptism of Christ, 44, 106, 183 ; 

of Emperors, no, 183 
Baptistery, 18, 19, 20, 81, 106, 132, 

152, 155, 183,209, 217 
Barlej in concrete, 132 
Base of dome, 210, 214 
Bases, 165, 258, 260 
Basil, S., 131, 143, 276 ; I. Emperor 

(867), III, 123, 175, 182^279; 

church built by, 68, 70, 90, 143, 

Basil II. (976}, 89 ; see under Meno- 

Beams with lamps, jo, in 
Beautiful Gate, 67, 95, 182 
Belfiy, 122, 194, 215 
Bells, 106, 150, 194 
Bema, 18, 37, 62, 63, 65, 67, 78, 94; 

view of, 69 ; restored, 124 ; walls 

of, 171, 242; sec ftlso Thusias- 

Benjamin of Tudela, 83, 113, 178 
Bertrandon de la Brocqui^re, 92, 1 10, 

Bethlehem, church of, 83, 182, 240; 

built by Justinian, 17 
Bin Bir Direk, cistern, 248 
Bishop's throne, 68, 79 
Blachernae palace, 11, 123 
Blessing the water, no, 192 
Bondelmontius, 125, 175, 177, 179, 

186, 193 
Bosporus, stone of, 46, $6, 79, 237 
Bosra, 90, 204 

Boucoleon palace, 99 

Bricks, 155, 161, 19;^ 224, 226, 234; 
size of, 155 ; inscriptions on, 136, 
156, 207 

Bronze, 172, 180, 189, 264, 272; 
hooks, 86, 109, 264, 273 ; panels, 
168, 170, 265 ; rings, $6, 60, 164, 
259; horses at Venice, 193 

Bruin Code (1700), 196 

Bury, 7, 12, 200 

Buttress, 150, 157,210,216, 219,226 

Buzantios, 7, 183, 264 

Byeljayev, 8, 177 

Camerarum rotator, 206, 207 

Candelabra, 60, 74, 80, 103, 119 

Candles on ciborium, 48, 72 

Cantacuzcnus (1341), 62, 65, 124 

Canterbury, 19 « 

Cantharus, 84, 189 

Capitals, 37, 43, 46, 55, 137, 164, 

188, 218; distribution of, 255; 

types, 250, 254 
Carpets, 81, 90, 102, 183 
Carystus, marble of, 45, 237 
Cassiodorus, 206 
Catechumena, 65, 90, 94, 135 
Cedrenus (nth c), 13, 14, 16, 99, 
• 157, 180, 210 
Cells of clergy, 140, 186, 217 
Celtic marble, 45, 237 
Cements, 231,280 
Ceremonies, book of (loth c), 7, 

20, 60, 92, 95, 123, 173, 181, 

186, 219 
Chainag)e, 228 
Chains (lamp), 16, 49, 50, 51, ni; 

S. Peter's, 68, 183 
Chalkd Gate, 95, 174, %8 
Chalices, 90, 104, no, i i, 140 
Chalkis, 257 

Chambers at East-End, 153, 216 
Chapels, 68, 105, 154, 155, 184 
Cherubic Hymn, 63, 92 
Cherubim in mosaic, 278, 287 , 
Choir; see Solea 



Choisy, I28y 199, zoo, 207, 210, 

214, 222, ^24, 226 
Chotroes, 32, 90, 97 
Chrysopolis, $ 
Chrysostom (4th c), 169 18, 44, 85, 

109, 116, 144 
ChrTsotricliniuxxiy 174 
Ciborium, 20, 47, 68^ 72, 167 
Cipollinoy 263; rosy, 241, 242 
Cisterns of Constantinople, 83, 224, 

226, 248, 257; of S. Sophia, 19, 

106, IS 5, 196 
Clamps, 247 
Clavijo, 61, 83. 125, 175, 177, 179, 

184, 186, 188 
Clemente S., church at Rome, 

Clergy, 91, 140 
Cloister on south side, 219 
Codinus (15th c.)* 149 2I9 63, 65, 

79, 128, i80| 183 
Columns, 55, 5i6, 60, 69, 109, 137, 

138, 163, 165, 234, 236; of S. 

Basil, 102, 131 ; of S. Gregory, 

102, 131 ; of Hippodrome, 172 
Colymbethra, 189 
Conchs, 22, 37, 150, 168, 180 
Constantine, 4, 6, lo, 14, 15, 99, 

101, 103, 105, 129, 179, 180, 193, 

198, 203; cross of, 95, 96 ; Forum 

of, 3. 5» 6, 9, 12, 14, 179, 182, 

193; VII. Porphyrogenitus (912), 

178 ; VIII. (1025), 89; XL (1059), 

in mosaic, 287 
Constantius (337), 15 
Coptic linen, 88 
Cornices, 150, 163, 260, 261; of 

dome, 41, 150, 159, 163, 166 
Corona of lights, 50, 51, iii, 115, 

Corippus, 145 
Corporations, 11, 208 
Corsi, 236, 238, 239 
Covel, 118, 121, 128, 191,232^288, 

Cross, the true, 14, 92, 93, 94, 96, 

98, 105, 109 ; adoration of^ 92; 

exaltation of, 94, 98; of light, 

116, 117; votive, 82 

Crowns, 63, 64, 72^ 73, 103, 140 
Crusaders, 6, 161, 70, 87, 100, 124, 

Crustae, 241 

Cruz Mensuralis, 102, 139 

Curtains, 33f 48» 49» 9Sf io3 
Curtis, 83, 85, 186 
Curve of inflection, 223 

Damascening, 67 
Dara, 205 

Deacons, 63, 64, 65, 91 
Deaconesses, 18, 91 
Delphi, serpents from, 4, 177 
Demetrius, S., church of Salonica, 
72, 121, 189, 202, 203, 214, 

Depuutus, 64, 91 

Dethier, 273 

De VogQ6, 90, 180 

Diakonikon, 102 

Didaskalion, 94, 188 

Didron, 98 

Diehl, 285 

Diocletian, edict of, 206 

Dion Cassius, 10 

Dion Chrysostom, 181 

Dionpius, 13 

Discs (lamp), 50, iii, 113 

Division of labour, 207 

Dokimion, 238 

Dome, 201, 220, 226 ; of S. Sophia, 

a6» *9» 3S» 4*» >23. H*t >5o» 

iS7> i59» »^9» »o9» »J0» *i95 
mosaics in, 274, 278, 286 

Domninus, porticoes of, 182 

Doors of church, 40, 57, 58, 138, 

143, 147, 168, 193, 216, 267; 

Holy, 79, 94, 96 
Doorkeepers, 91 
Door veils, 88 

Drill, use of, in carving, 263 
Du Cange, 7, 34, 44, 53, 180^ 

186, 190; editions of, 66^ Sj \ 

plan by,' 78 
Dueas (15th c), 126 




Earthqaakesy 21, 22, 122, 212, 228, 

Eastern chapels, 78 
Egypt, 4, I77> *oo, 226, 228 
Elektron, 70, 138, 272 
Embolos of Milion, 180, 182 
Enamel, 68, 70, 272 
Encaenia, 15, 21, 34, 36, 141 
Endute, 71, 140 

Ephesus, 32, 130, 191, 202; build- 
ing centre, 98; John of (6th c), 


Equestrian statues, 149, 193 

Escomboli, 12 c 

Etoimasia, 286 

Euckologium, 62, 92, 194 

Eudoxia, 16 ; statue of, 12, 13, 179 

Eudoxius, 1$ 

Eugenius, gate of, 10 

Eusebius (4th c), 14* 74» 190 

Eutjchius, 29, 132, ]|4I 

Ezedras, of S. Sophia, 22, 25, 36, 

151, 164, 168, 219, 234, 259; 

at S. Sergius, 205 
Ezonarthez, 122, 148, 150, 162, 

185,188, 193,215. 
Exterior of S. Sophia, 215, 219; 

cased with diarble, 197 
Evagrius (6th c), 29, 32, 33 
Ezra, 204, 228 

Fabri, Felix, 83, 246 

Fall of city, 125, 126, 147, 175, 

Fanio, portico of, 1 2 

Figure scheme in mosaics, 280, 283 

Fillet, notched, 170, 260, 292 

Flabella, 91, 104, 285 

Fonts, 19, 20, 81 

Fortunatus, 81 

Forum of Constantine, 3, 5, 6, 9, 

12, 13, 14, 179, 182, 193 ; Tauri, 

Fossati, 84, 120, 148, 179, 185, 287 

Foundations, 132 
Fountains, 177, 185, 18I8 

Galata, 5, 11 

Galla Placidia, 74, 282 

Galleries to S. Siophia, 212, 217 

Gammidae, 71, 88, 267 

Ganosis, 246 ' 

Garconostasion, 188 

Garofalo, 236 

Gemunus (8th c), patriarch, 85, 100 

Giallo antico, 172, 239 

Gilding, 272 

Glass, 46, 169, 290 ; enamels, 272 ; 

mosaic, 172, 273 
Glycas (i2th c;), 21, 79, 123, 129, 

Goar (17th c), 69, 92, 122, 192, 194 
Gold, 33, 46, 48, 49, 60, 70, 199, 293 
Golden Gate, 135; Horn, 1, 5,6, 10, 

Gregory, S., of Armenia, 276; S., of 

Nazianzene, 209; S^of Nyssa, 206, 

207 ; Thaumaturgus, 83, 102, 106, 

131, 276,287 
Grelot, 66^ 78, 84, 120, 127, 185, 

188, 190, 193, 215, 285, 291 
Gruter, 84, 190 
Gyllius, 12, 66, 127, 146, 175, 177, 

I79» '85, 193, 19s, 248 
Gynaeccum, 27, 44, 65, 87, 91, 

131, 140, 147, 161, 164, 242; 

accesses to, 152, 154, 157 ; domes, 

222; doors, 210; pavement, 172, 

215 ; windows, 168, 171 
Gypsoplastes, 206 
Gypsum, use of, 226 


Habakkuk in mosaic, 277 
Haifa sand, 241 
Hangings, 86 

Helena, 14, 97, 99 
Hemicycle, 19, 22, 67, 205, 219 



Hemisphere, 30, 32, 41, 1*3 
Hermclius (610), 91, 97 
Hienpolis marble, 55, 57, 60, 238 
Hippodrome, 2, 3, 4, 10, 12, 13, 

17, 121, 174, 175, 186, 193 
Holy table, 29, 48, 63, 6S, 70, 96, 

138 ; see also Altar ; well, 78, 91, 

95, 105, 130, 139; wood, 94, 97, 

Hormisdas, palace of, 174, 257 
Horoloi^um, 20, 95, 132, 141, 182 
Hypurgi of narthex, 91 

lassian marble, 44, 45, 238 

Iconoclasts, 280 

Iconostasis, 46, 51, 60, 68, 74, 126, 
172; lamps on, iii, 118 

Icons, 71, 85, 105, 129 

Idatius (5th c.)) 15 
erash, 201 

eremiah in mosaic, 277 
erusalem, 14, 84, 97, 104, 256 

Ignatius, 88, 108, 133, 140, 177, 287 

Images, Restoration of, 85, 122 

Indiction, 21, 269 

Inscriptions, 90, 190, 205, 264 

Instructor parietum, 206 

Instsuments of Passion, 96, 97, 109 

John Studius, S^ church of, 120, 218, 

Jonah in mosaic, 277 

Joshua, trumpets of, 105, 139 

Irene, S., 12, 1^9, 264; Empress, 287 

Iron ties, 161, 162, 230 

Isaiah in mosaic, 276 

Isanria, church in, 201, 202 

Isanrian workmen, 29, 207 

Isidorus, the elder, 24, 26, 28; the 
younger, 30, 43, 204, 206 

Justinian I. (527), 14, 20, 24, 29, 34, 
61, 70, 88, 90, 104, 119, 154, 167, 
190, 198; figure of in mosaic, 
287; equestrian statue, 180 

Justinian II. (685), 174 

Justin II. (565), 61, 97, 142, 174 

Ivory inlaid, 55, 6o" 

Kamara, 99, 136, 180 
Kathisma, 175, 177, 193 
Klerikos of S. Sophia, 91 
Kouppas, 228 
Kraus, 17 

Krumbacher, 22, 30, 32 
Kuklios, Kuklis, 68, 90, 138 

Labarte, 7, 9, 10, 12, 68, 128, 173, 

177, 180, 217 
Lamplighter, 74, 261 
Lamps, III, 144, 250 
Laotomos, 55, 133, 206 
Laotoros, 45, 59, 206 
Lateran, lighting at, 113 
Lattaquieh, milion at, 180 
Lattices, window, 154, 168, 197, 

261, 290 
Lazarus, the painter, 107 
Lead, 27, 41, 150, 259 
Leo, Pope, 72, 115 
Leo HI. (717), Emperor Edict of, 

Leo VI. (886), Emperor, 73, 103 
Leo the Deacon (loth c), 123 
Lighting, 49, 52, no 
Lithologos, 25, 206 
Lithozooi, 133, 206 
Loggia of Baptistery, 217, 252, 238 
Louter, 132, 138, 182, 189, 192 
Lukium cement, 232 
Luke, S., monastery of, 99, 145, 
^ 284, 285 

Lybian marble, 45, 239 
Lydian marble, 45, 239 
Lydus, John (6th c), 3, 6, 42, 208 


Macron, 181, 182 
Magistros, 129, 266 
Mahomet II., 126, 127, 152 
Maistor, 136, 206, 208 
MahAurat, palace of, 94 



Mandeville, 84, 146 

Manual BTzanrine, 182, 284 

Manuel (1143)9 181 

Marbles, 45, 170, 235; export of, 

240 ; application of, 241, 260 
Marcellinus Comes (6th c), 21 
Marina, House of, 11, 14, 174, 175 
Mark, S^ church of, at Alexandria, 

256; at Venice, 82, 108, 109, 193, 

197, 256, monograms, 294 
Marmora, 84 
Mass, 62, 92, 106 

Mechanikos, 29, 132, 133, 136, 206 
Mechanopoios, 24, 28, 206 
Megale Eisodos, 62, 63 
Mekkah Sand, 240 
Menas, patriarch, 21 
Menologium, 61, 68, 98, 108, 119, 

183; date, 71 
Mese, 5, 6, 12, 13, 180, 182, 186 
Mesomphalos, 79 

Metatorion, 77, 78,96, 131, 141, 182 
Methodius, 287 
Michael III. (842), 1 11,. 122, 123, 

Miletus, 24, 204 
Milion, 6, 10, 11, 70, 99, 186, 181, 

Minarets, 127, 151, 152, 215 
Molossus, marble of, 43, 59* 238 
Monograms at S. Sophia, 47, 60, 164, 

169, 170, 174, 251, 268, 272, 295 J 

at Ravenna, 292 ; at Venice, 294 
Mordtmann, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 175 
Mortar, i$6, 231, 235 
Mosaics, 42, 46, 69, 199, 206, 282 ; 

figures, 273, 287; first scheme, 

279; at S.Luke's, 99; at S. Mark's, 

82; at Ravenna, 71, 86 
Mouldings, 242, 260 
Murad III., 152 
Murano, 84, 85 
Mygdonian marble, 56, 239 


216, 22$; vaults, 13% 222, 226; 
frieze, * 241 ; mosaics, 274, 287 $ 
propylaeum, 92, 95, 162, 188 

Nectarius, 16, 129 

Neorion Port^ 56 

New church of Brazil, 90, 284 

New Rome, 4, 36, 46 

Nicaea, 181, 285 

Nicetas (i3thc.), 70, 150, 177, 181 

Nicephorus Callistus (14th c), 14 

Nicephorus Gregoras (14th c), 86, 

Nicholas, 102, no, 183; of Myra, 

276 ; Thingeyrensis, 99 
Niketes, 272 
Nola, church at, 113, 119, 190, 267, 

Notitia, 2, 5, II, 12, 13, 14, 15, 174, 

Novgorod, Anthony of, 83, 92, 100, 

183; Stephen of, 84, 113, 185; 

Chronicle (13 th c), 68, 75 
Nuremberg Chronicle (15th c), 175 

Octagon Church, 203 ; Baptistery, 

186, 220 
Officers, of church, 9 1 
Oikodomoi, 133, 200 
Oil in cements, 136, 232, 233 
Omphalos omphalion, 89, 96 
Onyx, 239, 241 
Opus sectile,45, 162, 171, 220, 225, 

242, 246 
Orientation, 1.7 
Organic architecture, 247 
Original form of church, 209 
Oriental alabaster, 170, lyi^ 239, 

Ostiarii, 91 


Naos, 32, 67, 79, 132 

Narthex, 40, 44, 106, 140, 150, 182^ 

Pachymeres (13th c), 71, 85 
Palace, 7, 13, 132, 173, 174, 175; 
of Blachernae, ii, 123 ; of Hor- 



misdas, 174, 175 ; of Mvina, ii, 
14, 174 ; of Patnarch, 15, 14, 107, 
179, i86;of Placidia, 174, 175 

Pala d'Oro, 71, 109 

Palaeologas, 61 ; Andronictts IL 
(1328), 124, 152 ; John I. (i3S6)f 
124, 2789 287 ; John II. (1425), 
71, 190 ; Michael (1261), lo, 71, 

124, 190 

Palladins (4th c), 16, 18, 144 
Palmyra, 6, 181, 201 
Panels, marble, 68, 171, 241 
PantQcrator, mosaic, 287 
Parenzo, 209, 219, 246, 256, 257 
Paschal Chronicle (7th cOy 3* 13^ 159 

Paspates, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 79, 81, 84, 

90, 100, 173, 176, 179, 186 

Passion, instruments of, 96, 99, 100 

Patriarch, 4, 62, 91,95, 96, 104, 107, 

125, 137, 144, 181 
Patriarchs' tombs, 85 

Paul, S., figure of, 49, 109, 118, 123, 

Paul the Deacon (8th c.)) 41 
Paulus Maurocenus, 108 
Paulus Silentiarius (6th c), 20, 33, 

67* 70, 79» "8, 159, 1 60, 204, 

Paulinus (5th c.)* 11 3* 1199 190, 

Pausanias, 2 
Pavement of nave, 79, 80, 137, 138, 

142, 172 ; of atrium, 141, 191 ; 

cloisters, 125 ; gynaeceum, 81 $ 

Basil's church, 68 ; Augusteum, 

Pavonazzetto^ 170 
Pendentives, 26, 41, 201, 209 
Peperino, 155 
Peter, S^ figure of, 49, 118, 123, 

275 ; chains of, 68, 102, 183 ; 

chapel of, 68, 78, 102, 130, 183, 

184 ; church of, at Rome, 72, 74, 

116, 189, 192 
Pharos, 116, 117 
Phengites, 262 

Phiale, 44, 141, 189, 190, 191 
Philozenus, cisterns of, 248 

Phrygian marble, 45, 56, 59, 237 
Piers, 22, 25, 28, 29, 41, 79, 133, 1 57, 

159 ; of stone, 1 5 5, 234 ; of west 

front, 193 
Plane of least labour, 261 
Polishing marble, 246 
Pointed arches, 220 
Polycandela, iii, 112, 114, 115, 

Porches, 69, 70, 91, 123, 151, 183, 

190^ 215, 288 ; south, 185 ; doors 

o^ 268, 270 
Porphyry, 37, 134* * 3^ 
Porticoes of Domninus, 182 ; of 

mese, 6 ; of milion, 182 j of 

Sevems, 6 
Porto- Venere marble, 171, 239 
Pozzolana, 291 
Praepositus, 04, 95 
Priests, 47, 67^ 91, 107, 140, 144 
Proaulion, 137, 179 
Procession to the church, 95 
Proconnesus, marble of, 4, 44, 46, 

79, 80, 81, 156, 163, 164, 166, 

172, 209, 237, 242, 243, 256 
Procopius, (6th c), 21, 22, 68, 159, 

174, 180, 189, 197, 206, 214 
Pronaos, 67^ 1 81, 184 
Prothesis, 63, 64, 75, 77 
Protomaistor, 145, 207 
Protooikodomos, 136, 206 
Protopapas, 91, 93 
Protospatharios, 91 
Protopsalue, 63, 79, 92 
Psellus (nth c), 145 
Pulcheria, 12, 16 
Purgos of ciborium, 47; of ambo, 

Quadriporticus, 215 


Ramazan illuminations, 121 
Ravenna, 17, 71, 80, 88, 183, 209, 



Readers, i6o 

Receptions on way from Palace, 95 

Refendarius, 64, 91 

Relics, i6, 97, 100, 106, 137, 139 

Resin fixes marble to walls, 172 

Restoration of image worship, 122 ; 

of S. Sophia, 22, 29, 123, 210, 

Rhodes, bricks from, 136, 142, 156 
Riant, 19, 100, 108 
Ribs of dome, 159, 275 
Robert de Clari (13th [c.)« 61, 70, 

72, H3, 145 
Rohault de Fleury, 17, 61, 67^ 74, 

113, 116 
Roman system of building, 199 
Romanus Argyrus, (1028), 123, 295 
Rome, 2, 17, 123, 200, 209 
Rosso andco, 171, 242 
Round N.E. building 78, 154, 217 
Royal Door, 67, 150^ 151, 181, 204; 

slabs over, 242 
Russian Pilgrim, 65, 143, 145 


Sacellarius, 91 

Sacristy, 78, 154, 184; see Skeuo- 

Salonica, see under Demetrius, also 

Salzenberg, 19, 20, 34, 42, 67, 78, 

149—172, 203, 210, 213, 216, 

219, 273 
Sanctuary, 28, 68, 78, loi, 102, 

105, 107, 109 ; smaller, 77, loi ; 

right of in S. Sophia, 189 
Scaffoldings 123, 142, 226 
Schlumberger, oi 
Screen to solea, 79 ; in South 

Gallery, 90, 262 
Sculptor Marmorum, 206 
Scylitzes (nth c), 123 
Secondary order of columns, 213, 

214, 219, 230 
Selim II., 127 
Semidomes, 22, 24, 40, 1501, 209, 

219, 226 

Senate, 6, 11, 12, 170 

Sepulchre Holy, slab of, at S. 
Sophia, loi, 105; Church of, at 
Jerusalem, 41, 74, 83, 84 

Seraglio, 10, 180, 184; Pointy i, 2, 


Sergius S., church of, at Bosra, 204 ; 
Church ofy at Constantinople, 83, 
166, 171, 204, 205, 218, 256, 257, 
295, 296 

Serpentine, 171, 172 

Services in S. Sophia, 92, 126 

Severus, i, 3, 6 ; porticoes of, 5, 6 

Shop production, 208, 256 

Silver, 28, 33, 37, 40, 46, 47, 54, 
56, 60, 70, 74^ 75 ; in pavement, 
08 ; in mosaic, 273 ; in mono* 
grams, 268 

Simeon of Thessalonica, 67, 192 

Sinai, Mt., 83, 119 

Singers, 60, 9 19 140 

Skeuophylaz, 91, 95, 297 

Skeuophylakium, 78, 91, 127, 130, 

13?, IS4» 183 
Skirtings, 241, 260 

Socrates (5th c.)) 13* 14* I5f 179 18, 

Solea, 63, 64, 67, 96, 139, 140, 142 
Solomon, 71, 100, no, 126, 141, 

144, 190 
Sophia S., church of, at Salonica, 

202, 203, 214, 257 
Sozomenus (5th c.)^ 16 
Spandrils of arcades, 45, 163, 166, 

170, 242, 260, 293 
Spartan marble, 65, 239 
Sphendone, 175 
Spina, 17s, 177 

Stairways, 94, 123, 162, 210, 216 
StaUs, 37, 40, 66, 137, 172 
Sttategion, 3, 4 
Stucco, 291 
Subdeacons, 91, 104 
Suidas (loth c), 70, 146 
Sundial, 178, 182 
Sunergasia, 208 
Synnadan marble, 60, 82, 171, 238, 

Syria, influence of, 201, 204 




Technitti, 24, 206 
Tektonikoa, 133,206 
Temples at Byztnduniy 1—4 
Tesserae, 45, 274, 288 
Texier, 10, 149, 193, 203, 283 
Theodora, wife of Jasdnian, 70, 86, 

88, 294; wife of Theophilus, 

122, 269 
Theodoric, 86, 88, 257 
Theodosias I. (379), 16, 129, 177, 

180 ; Code of, 206 
Theodosius II. (408), 6, 16 
Theophanes (9th c), 14, 20, 29, 72, 

100, 207, 209 ; Continuator 

(loth c), 71, 87, 90 
Theophilus, Emperor (829), 175, 

269 ; writer, 272, 290 
Thessaly, marble of, 32, 37, 40, 44, 

58, 59» 130, i64» ^36 
Thomaites, 65, 181, 186 

Throne, 62, 105 ; of bishop, 68 ; in 

mosaic, 277, 279 
Thusiasterion, 18, 28, 6*/^ 130^ 132, 

Tiberius (578), 174 
Titanos, 27, 232 
Tombs in S. Sophia, 102 
Tralles, 24, 204 
Transparent slabs, 262 
Trees of light, 51, 57, 118, 119 
Tribunal with porphyry steps, 1 1 
Triconcha, 175 

Turks capture city, 126, 127, 147 
Turrets at west end, 163 

Varangi, 64 

Vaults, 69, 150, 160, 161, 199, 200 

207, 219 s mosaic on, 274 
Vela, 65, 86, 87 
Venice, 71, 72, 09, 175, 193 
Verde antique, 67^ 81, 82, 164, 165, 

166, 167, 170, 172, 242, 260, 

Veronica, 286 
Villehardouin, 107 
Virgin, figure of, 83, 109, 123, 275^ 

278, 284 
Vitale, S^ at Ravenna, 88, 227 
Von Hammer, 145, 152 


Walls of church, 155, 157, marble 

casings, 285 
Wax, encaustic, 246 
Well, Holy, 78, 91, 95, 105, 130^ 

West front, 192 

Windows, 42, 43, 158, 168, 209, 

Wood, Holy, 94, 9c, 97, 105 
Wood tie beams, »0i, 162, 168, 227, 

228, 230 


Ultramarine, 60, 291 
Undercutting in carvings 254 
Unger, 8, 78 
Urns, marble, 84 

Zeno, building laws of, 6 
Zenobia, city of, 206 
Zeuxippus, baths of, 3, 4, 11, 179 
Zonaras (ilth c.}y 29, 160, 179, 

Zosimus (5th c), 4, 5 



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